My first memory of sport is running around the soccer oval as a 6-year-old scoring goals for the other team, yay! As for watching it on the TV, I remember holidaying up at the Shoal Bay country club as a kid watching my favorite team Liverpool lose the FA Cup Final to Manchester United, not yay!
So you could say I’ve been invested in Sport from a very young age. What is the attraction of sport besides the actual physical aspects of playing? It has to be all about the emotion, it’s the life of a fan. Let’s face it, we get either fired up happy or pass me another drink sad if our team wins or loses.
We ride the roller coaster of success and failure and rave about the game at the water cooler the next morning. We reminisce down at the pub about ‘that’ play the next day and we buy the jerseys and coffee mugs to show our loyalty.
There’s a tribal element as well, being part of a collective, in a way it’s the ‘caveman’ mentality, its our tribe against yours. We all know the feeling, I’ve been on the ‘hill’ at Brookvale when Manly play and the beer cans get thrown, and I’ve been at Mile High Stadium in Denver when the Broncos play amongst 77,000 maniacs in a sea of orange.
The fans are the beating heart of any sport but we realize it takes something special to play; it’s a connection we feel with the athletes we cheer for and an appreciation for the physical feats a mere mortal will never accomplish, like driving an F1 car at 300kmph, multiple gymnastic somersaults or making a spectacular catch.
But as a fan you have to take the good with the bad. Rafter losing the ’01 Monday morning Wimbledon final to Ivanisevic in 5 sets, that sucked, Denver winning Super Bowl 50 in Peyton Manning’s last game, that rocked, it is the constant rollercoaster.
There’s a new element that’s come into it the last few years as well, the gambling aspect. It really makes you take interest in sporting events where in the past the care factor was low, for me that was Holly Holm over Rhonda Rousey in UFC 193, leading up to that fight Holm was a 11/1 underdog, zero interest in the fight but when cash is on the line, I’m in.
I wouldn’t say I’m in the ‘superfan’ category, I won’t paint my house in team colours or want to be buried in a Manly coffin but I’ll ride the emotional roller coaster, wear the jersey’s, drink out of the coffee mug and live the normal life of the ‘sports fan’, its fun, isn’t that what sports is all about.