A very good friend once described me as “the ultimate fan.” He meant it affectionately (I think). When I become a genuine fan of something, I want to learn everything I can about it, I’m willing to drop a whole lot of dough to support whatever the thing is, and I’m generally able to maintain high levels of enthusiasm for the thing over time. So yes, I like to think my friend was right.
But I don’t become a fan of just anything. For instance, from kindergarten through college, I never went to a single school sporting event of any kind, and the entire concept of “school spirit” strikes me as misguided. With sports in general, the closest I ever came to being a fan of anything was with the New York Yankees because Dad is an almost-lifelong fan. I was a fairweather fan at best; once Rivera and Jeter retired, I kinda retired with them.
When it comes to me personally, I become a fan of individual people and art, not huge groups or institutions. Nonetheless, I can appreciate that there are many catalysts for how and why people become fans of things. So now I would like to expound on the subject of fandom here, delineating the healthy ways that people become fans of things–and also the self-destructive habits that can develop when fans become obsessive. Read more