In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Dec. 19, 2005 / 18 Kislev, 5766

Definition of ‘fan’ has become outdated

By Mitch Albom

Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I held my father's hand as we walked into the stadium. I wore a cap. I carried a glove. I ate a hot dog. I clapped constantly. When one of our players struck out, I said, "That's OK," mimicking my father, who added, "We'll get 'em next time."

I remember every vivid detail of my first sporting event, from the seat colors to the greasy food. What I don't remember is if our team won.

I guess it didn't matter.

I was a fan back then. I am not one anymore. I surrendered that option when I took this job. A fan, as defined by the dictionary, is "an ardent admirer." To be honest, under that definition, I'm not sure how many fans are left in this country.

Sure, people call themselves "fans." And today, many "fans" in Detroit are expected to brave the winter weather for the Lions-Bengals game at Ford Field. But they are not coming to cheer the home team. They are coming to boo it, to march around the stadium in protest, to howl endlessly for the firing of the team's president.

I'm not sure what I call that.

It doesn't sound like fandom.

It's hard to imagine a "fan" of a movie star such as Julia Roberts screaming at her because she took a bad part, or a "fan" of writer Stephen King calling a radio show demanding his publisher fire him. If you don't care for their work anymore, you move on.

But in sports, somehow, we don't move on, we move in. We throw things on the court. We unfurl nasty banners. We scream threats and curses. We start obscene chants. We sing a player's name and add the word "sucks!" We throw beverages at preening athletes (Pistons-Pacers last year). We throw beer bottles at the visiting team's busses (the LSU-Tennessee football game this fall). We jeer draft picks. We scream for trades.

Decades ago, if our team lost, we might commiserate at the coffee shop. Today, we spew venom across the Internet, we speed-dial a sports talk radio station, we scream into a TV camera. We give ourselves names ("SuperFanFreak"). We get famous for selling our loyalty on eBay. We imagine ourselves as equals. Every fan a coach. Every fan a general manger.

We demand our "rights." We say we are "sick" of losing. The whole relationship is like a tired husband and his tired wife, quick to anger, quick to battle, quick to see love turned to resentment. I don't know what you call that.

It doesn't sound like fandom.

Of course, the teams themselves are hardly blameless. Coaches and general managers take the money and run. High-priced players refuse to sign autographs or demand to be traded. Owners raise ticket prices so high, a fan feels entitled to excellence — or else.

Meanwhile, in the media, it is vogue to be cynical and acid-tongued. I've done it myself. You show too much "admiration" (see the definition of fan), they call you a "homer."

So today, in Detroit, "fans" will gather en masse to express not support, but anger. And they will protest a team making money from failure, while buying angry T-shirts and boosting ratings of entities making money from, well, failure. And the very media that often has egged them on will race down and cover them.

And perhaps this grants them their truest wish: to be watched and written about on Sunday afternoon, instead of the players.

The whole thing has gotten so loud, so profane and so drunken, I'm not sure what it is anymore. But I know what it isn't.

It isn't a little boy and his father, holding hands and watching sports heroes. They called that fandom. But those days are gone. .

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

"The Five People You Meet in Heaven"  

A novel that explores the unexpected connections of our lives, and the idea that heaven is more than a place; it's an answer. Sales help fund JWR.

Comment on Mitch's column by clicking here.

Mitch's Archives