The Coast News Group
Small Talk

Don’t blame climate for fair-weather fan-dom

This year’s Winter Olympics were great, but they left me ever more painfully aware of what a pathetic, card-carrying, fair-weather fan I am.

After lengthy contemplation (at least 10 minutes) I have realized why I fail to stay fired up about any given sports team. I seem to lack sufficient killer instinct. I play for fun, never to win. This does not translate well to fan-dom.

To stick it out in feast and famine, you have to be unshakably focused. Apparently, all it takes is something sparkly and I’ve changed loyalties. I may start out rooting for one team, but if the opposite team gets too harsh a drubbing, you’ll find me switching out of sympathy. This, of course, never makes any difference in the final score, but it makes me feel better.

I do get very excited when the U.S. competitors in any Olympic sport get into medal contention. I’m not the ugliest American, but I can hold my own when the U.S. sends in a star, and especially when we are the underdog and come out on top.

So, again this year, I was riveted by Olympic ice hockey, but probably still won’t be able sit through an entire game during the regular NHL season. I can’t even pick a team to get behind.

Why? It hangs on the worst symptom of the fair-weather fan. I need some really personal attachment to get emotionally involved. And it is almost always something silly and completely inconsequential to the rest of the world.

For instance, I cheered for the Seattle Seahawks this football playoff season, because both of my cousin’s boys played for that team in the 1980s. Hey, blood is always thicker than other silly reasons. And I celebrated the Boston Red Sox World Series win because my son is in college there. Makes sense to me.

Yet, if my local teams are winning, (Go Padres! Go Chargers!) I will turn into a rabid, as-if-I-always-followed-them fan. And I enjoy it every bit as much as the loyal supporters. I have the talent of going from, “What? It’s baseball season again?” to screaming super fan in about a week. I’m just that flexible.

I would, truly, like to see if I can sustain that level of excitement through an entire season, but, in sterling fair-weather fashion, my team has to keep winning. OK Padres. It’s all you.

Jean Gillette is a freelance writer very, very content with the peaceful close of the 2014 Olympics. Contact her at