Illegal Man Downfield: Oh, you’ve got to love the fans

Dylan Stinson

Assistant Sports Editor

I’ve been a fan of college football ever since I could walk; growing up in Tennessee left me with no choice. Every Saturday my friends and family would gather at my house or a friend’s house to watch Tennessee Vols games. I was a rebel in my younger years so I chose to root against the Vols despite my community’s die-hard devotion to their beloved orange superheroes.
Despite my rebellion, I grew to love college football. There truly is something special about Saturdays in the fall. From the cheerleaders, to the band, to the tailgate parties, you just can’t beat the atmosphere of a college football game. But the most outrageous and intriguing aspect of a college football game is, without a doubt, the fans.
Over my 21 short years of attending live games and viewing parties, I’ve noticed three distinct types of fans that attend college football games. I’m convinced that anyone and everyone who is a college football fan is a casual fan, a hardcore fan or an obsessive fan.
No. 1 – The Casual Fan:
The casual fan is, in fact, the most common type of fan you will find when attending a college football game. From drunken frat-daddies to the 40 year olds blaring Lynyrd Skynyrd and playing corn-hole, these fans are the root and foundation upon which college football is built.
Casual fans treat college football games as a social event and could really care less about the outcome of the game or the team itself. However, you would never know this if you only observed their actions because they are the loudest fans in the stadium.
Casual fans look for any excuse they can to yell really loudly. When their team scores they cheer like they’ve won the lottery, but when their team does something wrong you better take cover and put your hands over your ears because four-letter curse words and beer cans will be flying through the air like a war scene from “Band of Brothers.”
Casual fans want their team to win, but aren’t too concerned with a loss because either way you will find them at the bars afterward either celebrating a victory or drowning their sorrows. It truly is a win-win situation for the casual fan.
No. 2 – The Hardcore Fan:
The hardcore fan, in my opinion, is by far the most annoying. Hardcore fans are the guys who come to the football games dressed exactly like the coaches. Their wardrobe usually consists of a collared shirt with the team’s logo, a sun-visor, khakis, and Nike turf-shoes.
Hardcore fans like to believe they are smarter than everyone on the coaching staff. They say things like “Well, if we could just score touchdowns, make some tackles and stop the other team from scoring, we’d win every game!”
You won’t find hardcore fans having any fun at the game either. Hardcore fans are too busy discussing statistics from the previous game and the opposing team’s defensive schemes. They also have a paid membership to Rivals.com and stalk their teams’ potential recruits like a 16-year-old girl stalks her high school crush on Facebook.
Hardcore fans, although way too competitive and highly annoying, are usually pretty sane people. It’s not unusual to see the hardcore fan and the casual fan hanging out together at the bars after a big win, but if there is a loss you wont find hardcore fans at the bars, they’ll be home studying up on the next game, strategizing and planning for nothing.
No. 3 – The Obsessive Fan:
Now when I use the term “obsessive” please don’t take it lightly. The obsessive fan is really obsessed with his team. The obsessive fan is rare, strange and socially awkward. They are usually overweight, smell bad and have some kind of gross neck-beard. I can usually find one or two of these types at a game. If you want to find one you have to look in the strangest of places. I’ve found the most common place to spot an obsessive fan is in the very top corners of the stadium, where no one else is. Or in the corners of the front row at less-crowded games (I dont know why they like corners so much).
Obsessive fans are always decked out in their team’s colors from head-to-toe and do not talk to anyone during the games (they usually don’t have much of a social life as it is). They can always be found wearing headphones during the game to listen to commentators and tune out the cheers of the casual fans. There is no time for cheering in an obsessive fan’s mind because their team is in the midst of battle, they’re at war and no one cheers during war!
Obsessive fans do not own a piece of clothing that doesn’t have their team’s logo on it. Obsessive fans are always sitting alone and most have no wife or kids. What do they need those for? They have 100 kids out there on the field. Whereas the casual fan and the hardcore fan often times will be watching the game together, obsessive fans only associate with other obsessive fans, because they can’t relate to anyone else.
Now that you know the three types of college football fans, I challenge you to attend a game this season and look for each one of these. Oh, and if you happen to see an obsessive fan, please snap a picture with one and send it to me. Don’t worry about offending them; they’ll be too focused on their boys in battle to notice you.
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