As you may or may not know, I live in Seattle, which is home to the Seattle Seahawks. The Seahawks won the Super Bowl last year, which was pretty exciting to be a part of. Seahawks fans popped up everywhere, spectators at CenturyLink Field broke decibel records by being the noisiest fans in the NFL, and every game brought a rush to Seattle that was contagious.
I think I, along with a great many people, fully expected the Seahawks to replicate their success this year. I’m not a football fan, really, but I’m married to one so I have a minor emotional investment in the team’s success. The Seahawks have had an uneven start to the season this year, and now we’re sitting on our second loss in a row. It’s kind of a bummer.
I’ve been interested to see the shift in attitude among the fans I know. When the Hawks are winning game after game, there’s a fierce pride and pleasure in being a fan. After a loss, or now second loss, no one is talking about the Seahawks except to complain about how not-fun it is to watch the games when the Hawks don’t play up to expectations.
Wes and I were talking about Sunday’s game on Saturday, and whether or not Wes would watch it later in the day since the game would be on while we were at church. He said that if the Hawks lost, he might not even want to watch the game.
Curious, I asked him why. Wasn’t he a fan of the team? I wasn’t judging him, I was just curious. I’d always assumed he thought of himself as a true fan, as opposed to a fair-weather fan who only cheers when the team is winning. I asked him whether my understanding of fandom is incorrect, and he replied that no, it wasn’t, and he decided to watch the game win or lose.
It’s interesting to think of sports team loyalty, isn’t it? Especially when it’s not as much fun or as rewarding. I have no idea how fan reactions affect professional football players. I have no idea why a team can play well one week and then be completely uninspired the next week. There’s a ton I don’t know about how the symbiotic fan/team relationship works.
All I can suppose, however, is that if you can call yourself a fan, that seems like a pretty big commitment to the team, doesn’t it? Doesn’t it mean you believe in the team, no matter what? So, then, shouldn’t fans be trying to cheer the team up after a loss? Organizing some kind of encouraging hashtag or something to let the team know they’re still awesome and people still believe in them?
I feel like that’s how I’d want to behave if I were a fan. Then again, what do I know? I barely know what a non-pastry turnover is, so I’m far from an authority on these matters. You probably shouldn’t listen to me.