By Thalia Bardell, howiGit Contributing Writer, Boston, MA
I’ve thought a lot about the concept of “fandom.” What makes someone a fan and why are we convinced that some people are better fans than others? Looking for answers I busted out the dictionary: Fan, noun, “a person who has a strong interest in, or admiration for, a particular sport, art form, or famous person.” Alright, but I know it goes beyond that; especially in a sportstown like Boston.
As the Bruins edge closer to a historical moment and it seems that almost all of Boston is wearing a Horton, Chara, or “Puck the Nucks” tee I wonder how many of these people had watched the Bruins before the playoffs began. Bandwagoners; it’s a word we spit through our teeth, an insult, and one I’ve used many times in near derogatory manner. With social media in the picture it seems the Bandwagon has gotten even larger, with everyone proclaiming their undying love for the Bruins all over my news feed. This makes me a little mad, but then I have to stop myself; who am I to get pissed off at someone who is swept up in the excitement of a playoff run? Perhaps some of this year’s bandwagoners will get hooked and follow the team fully next season – and isn’t that good for a city trying to rebuild its reputation as a hockey town?
It seems that the two greatest factors in the making of a serious fan are how much they care about each game and how much disappointment they’ve suffered at the hands of their team. I would call these two factors together “commitment level.” I, most days, consider myself a Red Sox fan. I care about game one as much as I care about game 162; however, I’ll admit right here that I don’t know how much disappointment I can hold myself accountable for. In 2004, when the Sox finally won the World Series I was seventeen years old and while I liked baseball I didn’t follow it closely and I wish I had. Watching the ESPN’s 30 for 30 film Four Days in October gives me goose bumps for sure, but I feel just slightly removed from it, like it’s not quite mine to share in because I hadn’t shared very much in all the previous disappointment. I’ve matured as a fan mostly in an era of success.
I just started watching hockey this year. I’ve been to one game and own one t-shirt (I couldn’t go into the Garden looking like a rookie), which, in the midst of the playoffs, I feel self-conscious wearing because I don’t consider myself a Bruins fan. I’m developing a taste for hockey; the quickness is a refreshing change from the pace of baseball, but I’m too green to consider myself a fan by my own standards. If the Bruins don’t win the Stanley Cup I’ll be disappointed, but I won’t be heartbroken, and there are definitely people who will be – fans.