Tuesday, February 19, 2008

What is a Fan?

Have you ever wondered what a fan really was? The word 'fan' is short for 'fanatic'. Not so classy a word. 'Fanatic' can mean a lot of things, and most of them aren't good.

Most of us, in one way or another, are fans of one sport or multiple sports. I, for example, am a fan of football and baseball. I like them, but don't love them. I love it when the Boston Red Sox win the World Series, but my world won't come crashing down around me if they don't win. I was a fan of the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl, but their loss didn't cause me any loss of sleep.

My biggest passion is Nascar though. Probably more than any other sport, Nascar fans make the sport what it is. We pay the ticket prices, we pay for merchandise, we pay for Trackpass or Hotpass just to enjoy the sport we love. We as fans actually invest in the sport we love. Football fans and fans of any other sport do the same thing, but no where on earth do we see all our favorites on the same playing field for every single game. That's what makes being a Nascar fan so special.

We've all got our favorite drivers, and drivers we can't stand. We've had ordinary Sundays made glorious or depressing, depending on what our drivers do. Most of our favorite drivers only have a good day once in a while, and have problems the rest of the time. We still stick by these drivers though. We argue about them endlessly in person, in e-mails, and on message boards. Our driver is the best, and always will be!

Nascar is unique in one other way as well. Most of us get to see the races in the series other than Cup on a weekly basis. Most of us have favorites in those series as well, unlike the minor leagues in baseball. Most of the time in other sports we don't know who the new guy is. In Nascar, we've watched him for years.

Are we loyal to our drivers? You bet we are. We stand with them through the good times and the bad times. Are our drivers perfect? Of course not. There are human just like you and me. My favorite drivers have made plenty of mistakes over the years. They all do. It's just when the driver you don't like doesn't make mistakes is when you feel like they've got an unfair advantage.

All drivers make mistakes. All of them are human, and all of them will do the human thing at times.

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