What's in a Fan, Anyway?

Well, we're getting to that time of the year (and let's face it, the team hasn't looked all that great). Candy day just passed, Turkey Day just ahead... And oh yeah, it's that time of the year where the playoff picture is coming into focus. Invariably, now's the time for the lines to be drawn - whether to push for the playoffs and pursue the championship, or tank, fire everyone, and rebuild.

But this has nothing to do with that. Well, maybe a little. I want to know if either of these makes the person any less of a fan.

Folks, here's the crux of my rare FanPosting. This morning, in kind of a half-awake haze, I heard Hub Arkush on 670 calling out a fan who wanted the team to lose as "not a fan." Now this kinda got the gears going upstairs.

First, what is the definition of a fan? I know everyone is going to have a different answer but to me it is this...

We all know fan is the shortform of the word "fanatic," which simply means that the person is passionate about their subject. Since we would mostly call ourselves Bears fans, naturally, this means we're passionate about the Bears. So that right there should be enough, shouldn't it?

But it also seems as if being a fan entails wanting what you are passionate about to improve in some sense. Makes sense, especially in sports - you want your team to push for the championship, the pinnacle of the team's chosen sport. But herein lies the issue. Does our chosen method of wanting the team to improve impact how much of a "fan" we appear to be?

I personally will never cheer for the Bears to intentionally lose a game (though yes, I do recognize how losing helps draft position, cheering against my team is not something I particularly endorse). This doesn't make me any more of a fan that wants the team to go 0-16 and fire everyone, or just like the guy this morning, "to lose."

Yet I don't get all up in arms when the team loses a game. Losing is okay in the long picture of the season and franchise (as long as it doesn't happen too often, but don't worry, I'm a Cubs fan, I can handle it). But this shouldn't make me any less of a fan than the guy who wants nothing but 16-0 every year and perfect hits on draft picks.

And I don't think that having more "Bears Goods" or "officially licensed merchandise" makes you any more of a fan than the guy who picked up a Cutler T-shirt at his local Wal-Mart.

So I guess... To boil this down to a final talking point (beyond the typical "SJS you're an effing tool why bring this up blah blah blah"), how do you define a "fan" and are there degrees of "fan"? Can someone be a "bigger" fan than another?

<em>This FanPost was written by a Windy City Gridiron member, and does not necessarily reflect the ideas or opinions of its staff or community.</em>

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