These are exciting times to be a Cleveland sports fan. Despite the fact that being a fan is a mood lottery and that God has historically hated Cleveland sports (at least for the last 60 years,) I’m a little optimistic based on recent events. LeBron James is back in Cleveland on the Cavaliers; Kevin Love has joined the team, the Indians are somewhat competitive, and the Browns… Ok, well maybe the Browns have given me no reason to be optimistic even though Johnny Football is on the team but without Josh Gordon. Anyway, I may not be the biggest Cleveland sports fan but I’ve been a consistent fan for long enough to know what it takes to be a “real” fan. It has taken a lot of suffering to figure this out but here is the checklist…
- Do you know when the games are on, especially games against rivals or games in your city if you live away from your hometown?
- Do you set aside time to watch the games on TV at least for 10% of the games?
- Do you know at least 3 starting players and one bench player on the team?
- Does your team’s winning or losing make you unusually emotional?
- Have you cried when your team lost a major game (even if only a little bit?)
- Do you prioritize watching post-season or play-off games over all other activities?
- Have you been a fan consistently and without even one year off during losing seasons?
- Have you not switched loyalties for reasons of team competitiveness?
- Have you not switched loyalties even though you have moved to another city, state, or country?
- Do you own at least one t-shirt, sweatshirt, mug or keychain with your team’s logo on it?
- Have you been to at least one game for your team in the last two years?
- Does it feel wrong to own or wear clothes that support another team?
If you can answer yes to all of the above then congratulations, you are a "real" true fan of your team. If not, then sorry, you are not. It’s that simple. If you want to become an almost real fan, you can make up for most of the rules but not rules 7, 8, and 9. That’s alright though. Your team can still use your support. Just don’t pretend that you are a mega fan. Nobody likes a wannabe. True fandom is an earned privilege, not an occasional right.