Being a Fan – Why, and What it Means.

A customer came up to me when I was at work the other day, greeting me as any polite person would as I started to help him. It was less than ten seconds into the interaction when he asked me “So are you actually a San Francisco Giants fan?” He then indicated to the Posey shirt I was wearing with a hesitant smile.

I nodded and told him I was, of course. This isn’t the first time I’ve been asked this. I get asked about it nearly every day I wear any sort of Giants merchandise into work or out in public. There’s always that one baseball fan who will try to figure out if I know my shit, or if I’m just wearing the shirt because I think Buster Posey is hot.

Is Buster Posey hot? I’m a female who is attracted to men and I have working eyes, so yeah, duh, I think he’s hot. Is that why I’m a fan of baseball and/or the Giants? Absolutely not, you halfwits.

I know that this is a struggle that a large percentage, if not all, female sports fans have to tolerate. There’s this constant need for us to prove our worth as a fan, or for us to show that we know what’s going on in the league and game. It’s ridiculous and sexist and every other misogynistic word you can think of, but I’m not here to rant about it or start an argument. I’ll just say this: Typically, men and women have different tendencies in a lot of what they do, even being a sports fan. So of course girls are not going to think and act the same way that guys do when rooting for a team. Accept it, acknowledge it, respect it. It is what it is. It’s society, and often, we all play into our designated rolls. I know I do too, simply by over-stating my thoughts and opinions to try and be taken seriously.

Either way, I know that I would be questioned on my Giants fandom whether I was a girl or not. I’m 20 years old, living in New York, rooting for a team that hasn’t played a home game anywhere close to me in 60 years. Why on Earth would I choose to root for the San Francisco Giants?

“They won 3 rings in 5 years. Obviously, you’re a bandwagoner.”

Cute. If we’re using that mentality then 75% of the Giants fanbase is a “bandwagoner”, in my honest opinion. God forbid anyone gets into a sport a little late and gets caught up in the hype of a winning season. I don’t think it really matters how or when you started to root for a team. If you are going to put in the effort to learn about the players, the stats, watch the games, and truly put your time and energy into being a fan, no one should put you down for it. It’s a game. Sports are fun*. Being a fan should be fun. It should make you happy. Let others be happy, damn it.

I am notorious for rooting for more than one team per league. I follow three NHL hockey teams and three MLB baseball teams. Because of that, I’m usually labeled as a bandwagoner or deemed that I don’t know much of anything about sports and how they work. How do you divide your love? You can’t root for “rivals”! Didn’t you know that you have to dedicate your entire existence to one team only? You’re supposed to be willing to put your life on the line for them, Reina, there is no time for anyone else, c’mon now.

What can I say, I’m a rule breaker if that’s the case. I was raised to like both the Yankees and the Giants. My mother has been a diehard Yankee fan since birth. It’s impossible for me to be her daughter and not know what’s going in every game. My first baseball game was at the old Yankee Stadium in 2008, and they were the only team that I could really watch and follow as a kid, so it’s no shock that they were my first favorite team. However, my step-father, who is the ultimate rule breaker, doesn’t have a single New York sports team that he considers his favorite in any league, despite the fact that he spent his entire life in this state. He became a Giants fan because Will Clark was his favorite baseball player as a kid, and he’s been following them ever since then. And of course, he passed his knowledge and loyalty for the Californian team onto me.

(I follow the Mets too, which I fully blame on my numerous Mets fan friends that have made it impossible for me to ignore the opposing New York team. So there’s my third team for anyone that was relatively curious.)

I won’t lie, the thing that really solidified my status as a diehard Giants fan would be social media. (Yeah, I know, I’m the typical millennial.) Sure, the Giants were always a way for my step-father and I to bond, but outside of him, no one I know in New York really gives a damn about that team. No one even knew who they were until they won three World Series. So I had no one to talk to about them, which makes it hard to have as much fun as I do watching and rooting for this team. I’m a very social person. I like having other people that share my interests so we can enjoy it and be excited together. Doing something alone is often very lackluster for me, depending on the situation obviously. So when I decided to really start watching Giants games, I began following this network of people on twitter who were doing the same thing. Suddenly, I was having a lot more fun. People are great, guys. I know humanity is scary sometimes, but when you get right down to it, meeting new people and making friends is what life’s all about.

Giants fans are amazing. Sure, I’m biased, but really. Aside from the few bad eggs that are found in every sports fan-base, many of the Giants fans are genuinely great people that are funny, (mostly) smart, and truly kind and accepting. I know after I post this, I’m going to read something that someone tweeted about the team and regret this statement, but for now, I uphold my claim.

Getting so involved in this fan-base and this team has really brought on a good time in my life. I’ve made so many friends that I trust with everything, even if they are across the country. I’ve grown closer to my existing friends (Hi Sharon) by sinking them with the love we now share for this team. I’m overall just a happier person now, because I’m having fun. Happiness is everything. Happiness builds confidence. I’ve gotten more confident in who I am and what I want to do with my future as a result. Being a fan is more than just being crazy (which I am, I fully accept this). It’s about having fun, meeting new people, and making memories. It’s about enjoying life. This team makes me happy. My friends make me happy. I am enjoying my life the way it is today, more so than I have in the past. This domino effect is real and it’s shaping who I am. So think about that, before you start a fight with the next “bandwagoner” you meet. You don’t know the full story. And you don’t know what being a fan could mean to them.

It could be everything.

*Fun is a loose description with many exceptions. The 2017 Giants season hasn’t necessarily been fun for us as fans, but hey, let’s make the most of it.

Thanks for reading!

~Reina

 

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2 thoughts on “Being a Fan – Why, and What it Means.

  1. If I ever had a daughter I would hope that she would be like you. You really hooked me when you proudly admitted you are “crazy”. Now certainly I would never call you that cause “call a crazy bitch crazy and she’s likely to go crazy on your butt”. Lol
    Thanks for the read and for your support for my SF Giants who have in return made your life happier. I agree about the social fan base I too found friendship online when I was unfortunately relocated from the bay area to Arizona. With nobody to root with it’s just not the same.
    My kids are millennials and big baseball fans so I don’t hold that against you. Ban wagoners do exist and they are the “fans” that slam the boys when they are playing less than perfectly-nope-you don’t fit that description. So keep having fun don’t worry about what anybody thinks. Stay funny keep writing and most of all develop a true baseball hatred of the stinking Dodgers. Otherwise you are perfect! 🙂
    Mamma
    thelightersideofsports.com

    Like

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