Being an athlete resembles a lot of what being an ancient gladiator used to be minus the slavery and life or death situations of course. What I mean is, like some gladiators, athletes volunteer to compete for the honor and glory that comes with winning and also for the enjoyment of sports fans everywhere. While the competitors and the stakes have changed quite a bit, the fans haven’t changed much at all. Fans worldwide are still known for going crazy in the stands but also going above and beyond when it comes to supporting their team. So it’s no wonder why an athlete would be willing to put their reputation and their body on the line for the admiration received from fans. However at the end of the day the greatest fans we all share are our best friends and family.
In Japan, fans go berserk over baseball. The longest game ever played in Japan was between the Chiba Lotte Marines and Chunichi Dragons, which lasted 5 hours and 43 minutes. That’s almost 6 hours of fans cheering and slamming plastic clapping sticks together. Once the game had ended the fans even stuck around for the post game interview with the MVPs instead of booking it for the parking lot.
Just about anywhere you find soccer you’ll find football hooligans. A hooligan is someone who belongs to a firm or type of fan-based gang that supports a soccer team by any means necessary. Firms have been known to riot when things don’t go well for their team. In some instances stadium walls have collapsed, cops have had to use tear gas and water cannons on the rioters and people have been killed.
American NBA and NFL fans alike are perhaps best known for their painted faces, intense headgear (ranging from a ten inch afro to a giant cheese slice) and willingness to camp outside a stadium for days just to get choice seats.
So sure, fans that are willing to listen to you for half of their waking day are great. Fans willing to die or face Mother Nature’s harshest weather just to support you are pretty great also. But the greatest fans of all are the ones who remember when you cried after Mufasa was trampled by that stampede of wildebeest. The fans that took you out for pizza even when you didn’t win. The fans you called at 3 a.m. for anything, whether it was motivation, consoling or a bailout. Our best friends and families have been the rowdiest bunch of hooligans we’ve had the honor of growing up with. So here is to the fans that will still think we are heroes, win or lose.