I used to think that the definition of a diehard fan was pretty straightforward. You cheered your team Win-lose-or-draw and that was that. Pretty darn simple and straightforward.
And I guess it was once upon a time. Truth is, before the information superhighway (your grandaddy’s term for sure) I had never heard of things like fandom, man crush, and homeritis. <—I swear I didn’t make that last one up!
Yup. The internet ushered in a whole different dimension to all of this stuff. I actually had to look up the term just to make sure that I wasn’t missing anything!
So…I guess I’m part of that. Honestly, I don’t go to the games – so that might be be a knock on my street cred. But I definitely go down with the ship. So much so, that I’ve developed gills! So that’s something. But this is the internet, so of course we can use a more relevant source.
So now at least we know what we’re talkin’ about.
The Ways Of The Diehard
Well, we know what I am. But what are you? Do you follow the ways of the diehard? Are you that dude (or gal) in the stands in the pouring rain yelling? Are you that lone supporter of your team in your family, on your job, or among your circle of friends? Then you know the path.
Honestly, I’m not even talkin’ exclusively about ball here. Being a diehard is a virtue.
Because it’s about a way of life. What I’m really talking about is loyalty. Now bear with me, ’cause I’m big on this. At its bare bones essence, being loyal–in my view–is about being true. That is, being true to a particular team, a specific cause, or a given idea or concept. And that is regardless of whether that thing (that team, cause, or idea) is fashionable at the moment. And this kind of fidelity doesn’t waver, and is never conditional. It’s a rare thing in life.
That folks, is the core essence of the diehard. When all of the outer layers are peeled off, the diehard at his core is still true. Regardless of all else. And again, one can show this type of fidelity to his family, or his ideas about the rights of men.
Further, I see the diehard aspect of this loyalty as an outer shell of obstinacy. And that , much like the tundra, is
reinforced by layers of rock hard intransigence. And you definitely don’t get that outta too many people. And for me, that’s exactly the point.
That’s the way of the diehard.
It’s pretty safe to say that without establishing any arbitrary parameters around the terms, you know some diehards yourself. And again, they don’t even have to be sports fans. But in the sports context, I find this topic to be most appropriate.
Diehard Or Fanatical?
I consider myself a diehard — not a fanatic. That’s those guys in the stadiums in December bare chested, with their upper torsos painted in team colors. A fanatic to me, is that diehard to the extreme. There are certainly fanatical diehards, although a diehard is not necessarily a fanatic.
While I concede that fanatics have their place in this world, I have no intentions of being one of their number. Cheering and hollering is definitely my deal (and I’m sure that many of my folks may put me in this category), but I do my best to observe that there is a boundary not to be crossed. The fanatics I’ve dealt with observe no boundaries.
But they sure are entertaining, aren’t they?
So now we have established The Way Of A Diehard. And interestingly to me, there seems to be no pattern to it. Reasonably speaking, I’m sure that just about every major sports entity or franchise has their fair share of diehards. But certainly some teams (staying with sports) arouses more passion and commitment than do others.
But that guy with his old ratty hat or beaten up out-of-date coat could care less about any of that. He’s more occupied with telling anyone that’ll listen why the team’s gonna be hell to deal with this season. Even if “the team” ain’t had its head above water this century. All they hype and spectacle be damned.
For me, the essence of being a sports fan is about that guy. And guys just like him. They are the true trailblazers. It’s these sorts of faithful, ever-true followers, that ride the waves of fortune through the thick and the thin that epitomize fan loyalty.
And you know that one day when the constellations align, their team actually will be good. And of course that idiot will be running his mouth about how he’s been there through all of the lean years, blah blah blah. But he’s earned his moment in the sun (even if he is being insufferable about it), so let him have it.
Fucking Diehards. Sports wouldn’t be any fun without ’em.