A fan, aficionado, or supporter is someone who has an intense, occasionally overwhelming liking and enthusiasm for a sporting club, person, group of persons, or trend. Fans constitute a fanbase or fandom. They often show their enthusiasm by starting a club, blogging, or promoting the object of their interest.
In the Dickson Baseball Dictionary, it comes from the word fancy.
There are certain common characteristics to be found in fans. Common characteristics include internal involvement. Fans usually have a strong enough interest that some changes in their lifestyles are made to accommodate devotion to the focal object (enter OhioFinFan4Life). Fans have a desire for external involvement - motivated to demonstrate their involvement with their interest through certain behaviors (attending games, etc.). Fans often have a "wish to acquire" material objects related to the area of interest (enter Medic). Some fans have a desire for social interaction with other fans (enter Phinsider).
There are several groups of fans that can be differentiated by the intensity or level of involvement or interest in the sport (fanaticism). The likelihood for a subject to be elevated to the level of fandom appears to be dictated by its complexity (enter Matty I, Rzayo, Little Nicky, and all the others). Complexity allows further involvement of fans for a longer period of time because of the time needed to work the subject of interest 'out.' It also contributes to a greater sense of belonging because of the mental effort invested in the subject (Sammory please).
At a stadium or arena, sports fans will voice their pleasure by cheering, or shouting positive exclamations toward the field of play and ultimately, the favorable object. Likewise, displeasure toward a particular play, player, or team is met by fans with jeers, which consist of booing, and the shouting of expletives.
Teams that have a large amount of fans that have such an obsession with their team that their lives are practically based around the team are often called rabid fans (OhioFinFan4Life). These fans often congregate hours before kickoff in what is known as a Tailgation.
At sports bars, sports fans will gather together, often while consuming food and alcoholic beverages, with the purpose of following a particular sporting event on television as a group. Due to the level of devotion and intensity of feeling, as well as partially due to the alcohol being served, behavior that would be seen as unruly or fanatical outside of a sports bar is generally OK inside of one.
Fan loyalty is the loyalty felt and expressed by a fan towards the object of his/her fanaticism. Allegiances can be strong or weak. Fan loyalty can be threatened by team actions. Fan loyalty continues even if the team that the fan supports continues to perform poorly year after year(2007, ugh). We can all think of an example of a team with a loyal fan following, where fans spends their money in support of a poorly performing team that hasn’t a winning record.
What causes a person to be a loyal fan that sticks with a team through adversity rather than a fair-weather fan that switches support or wanes in support for the team? Worse, IMO, is the fan that cheers for the rival team to win, regardless of the reason for it.
So what does being a fan of the beloved Miami Dolphins mean to you?