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Opinion

Sports fans receive recognition

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May 4, 2012

I know everyone out there who reads this (mainly my mom) will not have anywhere to go for their sports news and advice, but I promise it will be all right.

I have talked about local school sports, athletes, sports drama, fun stories, my Packers and last week I touched on the media. It is now time to give a big thank you to the most underrated people in the sports world, the crazy sports fans.

To the fans who watch nothing on TV other than sports news channels and games; the fans who dedicate a whole house or room to a certain team; the fans that will travel hours and sit in any weather condition to watch their sports team and love every second of it; the fans who will buy a $5 soda and $5 hot dog at a stadium or arena just for part of the experience; the fans who follow these athletes and teams on Twitter, buy their jerseys, talk about them for hours with anyone who will listen, and even the crazy fans that make their plans around their favorite sports teams.

These fans give the all-important home team advantage that in a close game can be enough of a momentum boost to pull out the win.

Every sport has a different style of fan that makes the game so special. The greatest fans in the world are, of course, football fans. Football fans are passionate and crazy. They will tailgate for hours even if they cannot get into the stadium for the actual game.

The reason the NFL is talked about year round, even though it is the shortest sports season and fantasy football is treated like it is an actual sport, is that the fans are so amazing.

They will go shirtless all game long, paint their chests and wear ridiculous things like foam fingers, cheese heads, Viking helmets and do not even get me started on how Oakland Raiders fans dress. Football fans are just as big of a deal to the game as the actual athletes and coaches.

Going to a college game and seeing the tradition of student sections chanting their teams’ cheers all game, regardless of the score, creates a great experience. College fans will travel with their team even if they have class the next day.

They also know how to celebrate right along with the players. Passionate baseball fans are still convinced that baseball is America’s favorite pastime and it just might be. Fans everywhere still sing the famous “take me out to the ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch. The games are still the cheapest pro-sporting event to watch and it is hard to beat a nice afternoon out at the ballpark having a hot dog and soda while watching some good baseball.

Hockey fans might just be the craziest fans; slapping on the glass shouting at the players throughout the game. Sometimes I think the hockey fans are just as crazy as the players.

Basketball fans are literally right in the action with the players and sometimes a flying player will try to save a ball and will even land on the fan. Basketball fans can heckle and get in a player’s head more than any other sport. This makes for a special connection between the fans and players.

It is not just here in America where fans are giant part of the sporting events. All around the world people live their lives through another kind of football, soccer. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and home field advantage in soccer is more powerful than anything we can imagine here in America.

To lose a home game in soccer is very rare. Away team soccer fans actually have to be locked in a protective cage on their own side of the field at times in order to protect them from flying bottles thrown by home team fans.

To an outsider of the sports world, fans must look silly. To obsess over a team so much that it may actually ruin your day or worse your year, if your team is in a slump.

To the people who think that it is weird to put so much stock into a game they have no control over and be affected by something they think in “just a game,” I say you are missing out.

It really is more than just a game to us sports fans and the sun will still come up if our teams lose.

Ryan Tibbitts is a freshman majoring in journalism. He loves all sports but obsesses over his Packers.