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Finding Our Fandom: Facts And Facets That Shape It

photo credit: thecardinalconnect.com

photo credit: thecardinalconnect.com

When it comes to your fandom, how do we feel about it? It is something that we enjoy. We take the ups, downs, blowout wins and agonizing losses as best as we possibly can (or we should).  We try our best to take it seriously without being overly serious.

Take a second and think about the fandom(s) for your team(s) originated. Can you remember what started it all?

We can usually find a category that fits the origin of our fandom.

Childhood Selection 

Quite often our fandom is formulated as kids watching games with our fathers or various other family members. The foundation is laid for you to become familiar with players and teams and the ones that appeal to you manifest themselves for reasons only known to you.

Certain Players or Teams Stand Out 

When you select your teams as a kid there’s usually a characteristic about a certain player or team that makes an impression on you and causes you to root for them for life long after that player has moved on or retired. I am an Atlanta Braves fan to this day because of Dale Murphy. Those of us who grew up and picked our favorite teams in the 1980’s know that the Braves were on TBS every night.

That is the reason that I, unlike most of my fellow Kentuckians, sided with the Braves over the Cincinnati Reds who have the hearts of the majority of our home state. Another reason was the larger than life element I mentioned earlier.

Dale Murphy, larger than life to a lot of kids, myself included. Photo: sportsposterwarehouse.com

Dale Murphy, larger than life to a lot of kids, myself included. Photo: sportsposterwarehouse.com

 

I knew the Braves weren’t a good team back then, but it seemed like every time Dale Murphy came up to bat he crushed a home run. I know this wasn’t the case, but it appeared that way in my seven-year old eyes.

 

 

When it came to the NBA, Dominique Wilkins was larger than life to me just like Dale Murphy was.

Let the video speak.

 

‘Nique was the reason I became a die-hard Atlanta Hawks fan. If only he’d had legit help surrounding him while he was in his prime. Don’t get me started on the Danny Manning trade.

Place of Birth/Residence

Many of us pick our teams based on where we were born. All of the native Kentuckians born in the Bluegrass know what I’m talking about. This principle applies to every other region as well. New Englander’s affinity for the Boston Red Sox or Louisiana residences affection for the New Orleans Saints. You get the picture. We could cover every region or area of the country. You don’t always have to be born in the area where your favorite team resides either. As a Dallas Cowboys fan, I didn’t set foot in Dallas until 2013, but my dad is a Cowboys fan and as a kid they were and always have been my NFL team of choice.

Your Favorite College Player’s Pro Team Becomes Your Favorite Team

We’ve all seen this before as well. Remember all of the Rex Chapman jerseys everyone had when he got drafted by the Charlotte Hornets? What about the Tim Couch Cleveland Browns jerseys or Jamal Mashburn Dallas Mavericks gear? Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos and Indianapolis Colts jerseys are all over Knoxville. Bud Dupree’s Pittsburgh Steelers jerseys will become more and more popular in Lexington in the coming weeks too. You get the picture.

The odd thing about my fandom is that the teams I picked as a kid, Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Hawks, I picked based on Dale Murphy Dominique Wilkins. I based it on players. Due to that Danny Manning trade I referenced earlier I am now a Houston Rockets fan. I picked them based on a player as well. Hakeem Olajuwon was and is my second favorite player ever.

However when it comes to the Kentucky Wildcats and Dallas Cowboys, teams I’ve pulled for since before I can remember, I don’t even have a favorite player. There are lots of players I really like but I don’t have a clear-cut favorite UK or Cowboys player.

So we said all of that to say this. It is funny how fandom comes about and all the factors that determine it are interesting.

How about you? What are some of the interesting things that have molded and shaped your fandom?

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