Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Be a Fan

How to be a fan:

One of the best things about living in Canada is the Canadian Football League. The CFL is a lot like Canada itself: historic, modest, and friendly. I grew up “on” the CFL. When I was young, I'd watch football games, in non-high definition believe it or not, with my family cheering on our local team: the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. Just as the older players mentor younger players, die-hard fans teach people new to the sport how to properly support a football team.

The first thing you need to do to support a team is to choose one. Yes, it seems obvious, but it's the first requirement. Generally your best bet is to pick a team from your hometown. Otherwise, it can be an expensive investment, (more on that later.) If your city does not have a team, a city close by will do. Choose wisely though, because once you pick a team, there is no going back, ever.

After you have picked a team you next have to research it's players. This is very important. You do not want to be one of those fans who go to games and yell the wrong players' name, or even worse, make up a name. One year, while I was attending Blue Bomber games, a “new” fan moved into my vicinity. She would yell at the top of her lungs things like “Javan you suck!”, or “Come on, Javan, get it together!”. This was wrong on several levels. First of all, the Bombers did not have a Javan on the team at the time, and second of all, she was heckling her own team publicly: another fan faux pas. A few fans confronted her on her annunciations and after that day, I never saw her again. So, grab a team roster, which can be found on the team's website, and thoroughly memorize the players names, and numbers for easier identification.

In order to avoid ending up like the lady mentioned above, you must observe this next rule: treat the players on your team like family. It is okay for you to curse out the players on your team, (actually I encourage it), but it's to be done in private only. You would not yell at your sister in the middle of the mall, for instance, but you might in the privacy of your own home. Also, always, always, always stand up for the players on your team. They could be the slowest, lamest, worst group of players to ever play football but if they are on your team you will stand up for them. Anyone who mocks, berates, or doubts said players should receive a scowling look and a stern tongue lashing.

Becoming a true fan will require some start up funds. There are some necessary purchases: first and foremost, season tickets. A true fan goes to every home game. You must attend games over all else. A short list of exceptions apply: a death in the immediate family, a sibling's wedding, or a milestone birthday of someone very important. That's it, no other excuse will be accepted for missing, and if you gain the reputation of being a die-hard fan, siblings and parents would never dare schedule things on game day anyway. Next, a jersey must be purchased, preferably both home and away colours, but a home jersey as a bare minimum. It is imperative that you wear the colours of the team on game day, as well as after a big win or big loss. Lastly, a car flag with your team's logo on it. Yes, they may be tacky, but they also solidify your fan status wherever you go.

The most important and final part of being a die-hard fan is faith. Faith that your team can and will win, almost to the point of cockiness, but not quite. Your team could be down 50 to 0, with five minutes left to play, and some part of you should be thinking “if we could just get the ball back, and on-side kick, and score, and on-side kick and score......we could win.”

So, pick a team, learn about its players, attend the games, and have faith. Do it long enough and you will be a fan. It's a rewarding experience; just see for yourself.