The Joys of a Fan

December 27, 2008

For those of you who think I’ve been so bored this break and read so much John Piper that I’m contemplating how that thing on your ceiling that keeps you cool during the balmy summer months helps you see and savor Jesus Christ, think again.

I like sports.

I mean, I really appreciate sports. I think it’s awesome how God designed us physically and how he gave us that drive to compete, and I love participating and watching good athletic competition.

But even more than than, I love being a fan. Now let me define the term a little bit. Being a true fan goes beyond appreciation to a certain level of commitment. Beyond just appreciating an athlete or a team or a sport, real fans will cheer and support their team. A real fan does not just enjoy watching a good game, he follows every match his team plans. A real fan does not just jump on the bandwagon of the latest dynasty, he sticks with his team through thick and thin. And this is where the joy of being a fan kicks in.

The joy of the fan (while bittersweet) is there in defeat. Even though you are upset (maybe severely so) that your team lost, the silver-lining satisfaction you still have is that you were there with your team. You may be mad that your team lost in the championship or did not even make the playoffs, but you were there with them on Opening Day, and you will be there again next year.

The joy of the fan is magnified in victory. When your team is hoisting the trophy, that’s your team. No real fan actually even says, “My team won!” He says, We won. And sometimes the glory of victory is all that much brighter because of years of defeat. I learned this from my Grandpa. He was born in 1922, and as a life-long Boston Red Sox fan, he did not see them win the World Series until 2004. (For those of you keeping stats on this blog, that’s over 80 years.) That’s the joy of a fan.

Tomorrow I will experience the joy of a fan. As I Miami Dolphins fan, I have had the (dis)pleasure of watching my team be terrible for last few years. (Especially last year, when they went 1-15) But tomorrow the Phins have a chance to make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2001. If they win, they’re in. If they lose, they’re out. Simple as that. So either way, I’ll know the joy of the fan.

Maybe it’ll be sweet victory. Just maybe they will complete the Disney-esque season of going from worst to first. Oh, that’d be great.

Maybe it’ll be defeat. Then I’ll know that I was there when they were 1-15, and I was there when they barely missed the playoffs. And as the Brooklyn Dodgers used to say, “There’s always next year.”

What fun…

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