Attending a game, getting tickets, and having bitter rivalries are times when diehard and casual fans head to stadiums to cheer on their teams and favourite athletes. Some are so fanatical that they start arguments and say harsh words any time their team or player gets criticisms. Why does this happen?
When you ask a person which player or team they root for, you get a variety of answers—whether it is passionate or nonchalant. Where does fanaticism begin? Melanie James, a senior lecturer at the University of Newcastle’s School of Design Communication and IT, cites that a fan is someone who acts differently from what others expect of an audience.
The definition of a diehard fan relies on what they do and not whom they root for. There are varying degrees of fanaticism—wearing a jersey or endorsed product to a match, getting a tattoo of the name or appearance of the athlete, buying AUS Open Final tickets no matter the price, and even stalking behaviour.
Factors That Influence Fanatics
When you factor cultural and social factors behind why some people become fans of certain athletes or things, Dr James cites that a romantic attachment to a cause or person may cause the development of fanaticism. Fans fantasise about their relationships with the objects of their fanaticism. With the development of media, fans are no longer isolated within a geographic location.
A study conducted by the University of Western Sydney of fans of an NRL club discovered that the participants went to matches to get away from stress, while others said that their weekends would be bad if their team lost. Others feel a sense of community and loyalty to the teams they support that is why they feel elated for days after a win and conversely after a loss.
You won't understand how a fan feels if you aren't one. Regardless of who you support, there are some that take fanaticism to a new level.