Thursday, September 29, 2016

Old Fans, New Fans, Should It Really Matter, Fans?

Can you smell that? That’s the aroma of ice, sticks, and skates. That’s right—


 I’m in seventh heaven let me tell you. Another new season is about to kick off, and with it old and new fans alike are gearing up to cheer for their favorite teams. As the fans begin to gather, this little problem seems to pop up from time to time, so I thought we could chat about it.

As a rabid Ranger backer, I belong to quite a few groups sprinkled over various social media sites. I've noticed a rather interesting ideology that springs up whenever large groups of sporting fans congregate. There seems to be this thought process among some fans that the longer a person is a supporter of a certain team, the better fan you are. I'm just not sure I can agree with this way of thinking. Yes, a person who has been cheering their team since nineteen sixty-two is a dedicated fan for sure, and is quite knowledgeable, as one would assume. But does that make them better? Does being a fan longer make that fan better than a newer fan?

New fans are the lifeblood of a team; let`s face it. If my team doesn`t draw new fans, the franchise is in some serious trouble down the road. Yet among some, the new fans are spoken down to when they should be embraced and welcomed warmly to the fold. Sure, a new fan may not know the goals against average of Joe Goalie, who played from 1953 to 1961, but does that lack of statistical knowledge mean that new fan should be made to feel lowly by the elder fan base?

And what about a person who, like me, is an old fan as well as a new fan? I grew up living about twenty minutes from downtown Philadelphia in the seventies. I spent my summers at Veterans Stadium cheering the Phillies and my winters at the Spectrum rooting on the Broad Street Bullies. Life, as it does, led me away from the suburbs of Philadelphia. I found myself married, with a daughter, and residing right next to the New York border. As I raised my daughter, I drifted from hockey.

I renewed my love of the game when I decided to write and submit a hockey romance novella for an anthology call. When I wanted to reacquaint myself with the sport, the only games I could find up here were Rangers, Islander, or Sabres games. I sat down to watch a Rangers game, and instantly fell in love with the personality and drive of the team. I may have also been smitten with the goalie and a certain Norwegian winger but that’s neither here nor there.

So, does that make me a new fan, an old fan, or just a reconstituted fan? And should it really matter? Isn`t the important thing that we all shake our foam fingers, wave our flags, chant our chants, and sport our team jerseys because we love our team, be we new or old fans?

What do you think? Does seniority make a person a better fan? Let me know what your feelings in the comments section!
(This post is originally appeared on Romancing the Jock.)

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Cathy Brockman said...

I think new fans are just as important. Like you said if there were never new fans eventually the team would go under without growing participation. I am not a hockey fan and love these books so you dont have to love sports to enjoy this set!

Kelly Erickson said...

Age or length of fanhood does not make one a better fan. One of the best fans I ever met was "almost six." She watched the game intently, cheered, and even yelled at the errors or the other team. In my opinion, that makes her as good a fan as anyone.

V.L. Locey said...

Great points Kelly and Cathy!

RJ Scott said...

Well... look at me... I've caught games here and there since the Winter Games with Torvill and Dean winning gold... but actually supporting a team that's a new thing... I picked a team because I though the C was cute, and a couple of the Ds and oh and another C, and and and... yeah, mostly the whole team. I don't know stats, I probably won't ever know stats, but I love the game and Lace is explaining to me how things work... and yes, I think I am a lucky charm for the Penguins now, because after declaring undying love for the team, they went on and won the Stanley Cup...


Incidentally, because I am in UK I will get my fix of hockey with the Cardiff Devils, which I probably wouldn't have before this, and UK hockey always needs new fans :)