I’m constantly reminded why they sports nuts are called fans. It’s short for fanatics and it’s obvious every time I attend an event, watch games on TV or open Facebook when sports are going on that it’s an appropriate word.
Fans are just bonkers. And I usually love it, but I’m noticing a weird trend: the over-policing of other fanbases. When did we start concerning ourselves with other team’s fans so much that crazy supporters enjoy seeing their rivals losing nearly as much as they do seeing their own teams win?
Because I don’t want to call out any other fanbases, I’ll just stick with my Vols. I get that we’ve been downtrodden for years, but we’re suddenly good at every sport now. Why rush to Facebook to taunt when Alabama loses in football or Kentucky falls in basketball anymore? Sure, it may have been the highlight of previous seasons to see our foes falter because we had nothing else to be excited about, but I’m not even worried about those teams (or their fans) anymore.
Vol fans have Josh Heupel leading a rebuild of football (headlined by a must-watch offense), Rick Barnes winning SEC titles on the hardwood and Tony Vitello building a monster baseball program. There’s an outside chance that just between those three programs, Tennessee will get to celebrate 100 wins during the 2022-23 cycle – do we really need two Crimson Tide losses to make us feel better too?
I’m not saying you can’t celebrate wins over those teams in head-to-head matchups, but move on after the fact. It’s especially embarrassing if you’re gloating about your rival losing after they already beat your team (which, thankfully, wasn’t the case with Alabama this year and likely won’t be with the Wildcats in basketball either). I don’t care if other teams do what my team couldn’t – or at least I don’t get a ton of joy out of it anyway.
Let’s jump off Vol fans for a second and talk to all sports fans now. Here’s another useful fan tip: don’t say “we wouldn’t do that,” in any situation. Yes, some of your fans would (and they probably already have).
I’ve been to games from Oregon to Florida as a fan and attended thousands of events as a media member – every fanbase has people who are capable of being the nasty and vulgar minority. Every. Single. One.
Also, I promise you high school students and athletes at every school talk trash, make funny (and, possibly, hateful) signs and social media posts and regularly taunt other fans after big wins every chance they get. Warren County isn’t any different – and that’s OK. Let’s just not be sanctimonious about it if we lose and see it from others.
Better yet, let’s just stop worrying about other fanbases altogether. When our teams win, the other team’s fans are losers anyway.