clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:


New, 1035 comments


Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Here is an entirely non-groundbreaking statement: supporting a sports team is one of the last few socially acceptable forms of tribalism. Here is a slightly more controversial statement: that sense of us versus them is more pronounced, generally, in college sports, for reasons that are best summed up as "we don't have a Dan Snyder that can threaten to move Ohio State to L.A."

And here's the part I really want to say: your chosen tribe is not so special that sidewalk fans deserve your scorn.

Hooray for you, former student at Football State. It's nice that you paid tuition for eight semesters towards a History degree. Say, you went to HOW many games? Wow, that's a lot. Plus your dad and granddad are Football State alumni as well? Guess it's official - you're the most Authentic Fan In The Whole Wide World. Not like that lousy Johnny-come-lately who just thinks he can throw on a Football State hoodie and count for something. I mean, just look at the comparison!

1. Spent money on football or football related shit: YOU [X] SIDEWALK FAN [X]

2. Cheered for team, possibly in person: YOU [X] SIDEWALK FAN [X]

3. Meaningfully participated in team as a player, coach, assistant, or other staff member: YOU [ ] SIDEWALK FAN [ ]

"But they're all bandwagon fans!" First of all, no. No they aren't. Second of all, are you suggesting that NONE of the alumni or students are? Did you even SEE pictures of the attendance at Miami games?

In fact, none of the stupid/drunken/annoying behavior usually attributed to a sidewalk fan is universally true of, or exclusive to, the cheering section that didn't matriculate. Despite what the Michigan Society For Did You Know We're A Better Value Than Any Other School Because I Said So Plebe would have you believe, that letter of acceptance doesn't give you any clout in this arena. You want to root for Auburn? Root for Auburn. I'll mock you the same whether you went there or not.

The whole notion of a Sidewalk Fan is based on the premise that something - money, experience, the accident of who your parents are - makes you more special. More real, maybe. But the truth is we're all just sitting at home, or in a bar, or in the stands, screaming at things we can't control. That only requires free time, some money, and a measure of devotion, not a diploma and a bunch of selective memories from your sophomore year apartment.