THE FIVE FANS YOU MEET IN HELL: NUMBER THREE

Jonathan Daniel

THE SANCTIMONIOUS VETERAN BETS YOU'VE NEVER EVEN BEEN TO THE OUTBACK BOWL TEAM DINNER

In absence of Spencer's superior product, this week you'll have to settle for us running through the genera of abysmal fans you'll either oppose or find yourself becoming this season.

A while back, I started compiling a list of ways you could be a "legitimate" fan of any particular team. It started with the easiest route - attending the school - and progressively got more and more distant. Was it more acceptable to root for a team because you had a parent amongst the alumni, or was fandom through a spouse more compelling? Did it count if you started cheering for the team after a certain age, or did your interests crystallize at some point? And then I realized something very important: WHO FUCKING CARES.

Take that impulse to separate the stands into the deserving and the unwashed. Multiply it times ten, and you get today's awful fan, the Sanctimonious Veteran. The Sanctimonious Veteran will take every opportunity to remind you that his father's father's uncle's father-in-law was a season ticket holder in 19-burbledy-glorp. He will imply that you are not allowed to have an opinion about the team if you have not supported it as long as he has, financially or otherwise. He haaaaates non-alumni fans.

Because, to the Sanctimonious Veteran, being a fan has become a perverse experiential scavenger hunt. You went to last year's bowl game? He's been to twelve. You were there for that big road upset? He saw a better one before you knew how to drive. You actually played for the team? Ok, this is the one bit of ground that Sanctimonious Veteran must concede. And God forbid you've never actually attended a game.

Realistically, here are the entrance requirements to be a fan. 1. Some capacity for emotional response (sorry, T-1000) and 2. no acidic blood (sorry, xenomorphs). That's it. Stop trying to make it a smaller tent, Sanctimonious Veteran. You want a sport where only the moneyed fans get in? Buy a sailboat.

But even worse is how Sanctimonious Veteran treats opposing fans. Watch your team beat his, and he'll dive right into the Mystical Well Of History. THAT'S RIGHT HOW MANY CHAMPIONSHIPS DID YOU HAVE PRIOR TO THE GRECO-TURKISH WAR SORRY WE GOT TRADITION FOR DAYS SON. We're not playing Age of Empires here. What you did six decades ago really doesn't mean shit today.

What this all boils down to is that Sanctimonious Veteran needs, more than anything else in the world, to feel special. He needs his team to be the one football program that "does it the right way." He needs his stadium to be unlike anything else man has ever built. And he needs his experience as a fan to be better than anyone else's.

Don't be the Sanctimonious Veteran. Accept that we're all a bunch of sweaty idiots booing the refs even if they're right. Embrace it. Because you're going to have to wash that stank-ass shirt either way.

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