Fandom: the obsessions of life
December 28, 2018
“We are the A! From way down south! And we are here! Rowdy and proud!” Atlanta United, the soccer team for Atlanta, boasts a fan base that gradually gained followers because of their recent performance, earning them a spot in the finals. People from Atlanta finally feel the excitement from a winning. Since winning the championship game, Atlanta United gained more fans broadening their fanbase. People involved in fandoms, a group of people who come together because of their similar likings, come in different ways. People either joined the fandom by word of mouth, hopped on the wave, or grew into liking that sports team or famous person.
Fandoms bring diversity to a community since people differ in their interests. For example, if two neighbors favor different teams, such as Georgia and Georgia Tech, and the two teams play one another, it could offer a competitive atmosphere. The gathering celebrates the diversity present in the community.
“When Auburn played against South Carolina in football, as Auburn fans we watched the game at our friends house who are fans of South Carolina. It was a fun time cheering on Auburn and playfully making fun of the plays made by South Carolina,” community member Robin Butler said.
Popular trends continue to provide a following that differentiates from another group. For instance, half of the population will follow a trend, such as a foam clog called crocs, if showcased as ‘cool’. Generally speaking, when trending on social media or the news, the famous person normally ends up with a wide fan base because of the fandoms’ relevance.
Fandoms consist of groups of people who share a specific liking to something such as a sports team, singers, or actors. The two types of fandoms, discussed in this article, consist of those who follow sports teams and those who follow a famous singer or group. Both come from completely different spectrums, but the fan bases act similarly; the screaming, the clothing, and the cheering all fit the prototype of a fan.
Famous singers’ fan bases constantly change due to social media and how the media may portray that certain individual. For instance, if a famous person won an award, then some fans may favor him or her more. Generally, those who follow singers stick up for their singer. For instance, when fans of Harry Styles receive questions about their obsession with him, most would tell that they would do anything and everything they can to protect him. Others may view this as simply “doing too much,” but fans who follow Harry Styles normally do not see it that way. They view it as a way to become closer with the singer since they look up to him or her.
“Everyone involved with the One Direction, or now Harry Styles fandom, does so much. For instance, when there was this guy who was rude to the fans, Louis [a former member of One Direction] tweeted him, and the rest of the fans ended his career,” junior Maddie Sullivan said.
When talking to those who obsess over singers, listeners deal with people who listened to the singer “since the beginning” and bandwagon fans. People who listened to their favorite singer “since the beginning” take this phrase seriously, as arguments may break out on social media. “Since the beginning” fans can sometimes also classify as die hard fans, people who take their liking of the artist too seriously.
“I don’t think that being there since the beginning makes you a better fan than someone else. It’s like how much you love them and support them and where they are now and where they came from,” Sullivan said.
Bandwagon fans represent the other side of the story. The debate following these fans consists of two sides as well: people claiming to love famous singers just because they found the singer trending on social media or heard the most basic song that everyone knows on the radio make the so-called “real” fans sick.
“[Bandwagoners make me feel] livid. They just make me so frustrated because they think that they can relate to you, but they can’t because your love for that thing is just on a whole different level than what they think it is,” sophomore Rashida Jalloh said.
Sullivan, who fantasizes over Harry Styles, and Jalloh, who fantasizes over Tyler the Creator, both believe generally the same idea when talking about their feelings revolving around bandwagon fans and those who claim to fall under the “since the beginning” category. Both fans consider themselves diehard fans, and both agree with the statement that nobody can ever take circumstances too far when talking about something they love.
“There is no such thing as doing too much for something that you love. If you love something, you go after what you want. If I want to meet Tyler the Creator, then I will try my best and my hardest to try and meet him to fulfill one of my dreams,” Jalloh said.
Even though music fans and sports fans value different topics, they also consist of similarities. The idea of what makes a sports fan, such as dedication to the team, generally serves the same as those who keep up to date with singers.
“ [Sports fans are] just somebody who follows along with what’s going on. Not just watching the games but kind of keeps up with what’s going on outside,” Magnet ninth grade Leadership, U.S. Government, and Sociology teacher Samuel Fraundorf said.
People typically grow up watching one team over all the others, and parents start teaching their children about sports and who to cheer for. Which sport and what level of each sport will generally determine why people cheer for their desired team. For instance, with college football, people generally cheer for the football team of the school they attended. For the NFL, NBA, or MLB, people generally cheer for their hometown team. If someone moves from Georgia to New York, that person, generally speaking, continues to cheer for the Georgia teams—the Atlanta Falcons, the Hawks, the Braves, or Atlanta United—because his or her loyalty to the team usually does not change just because he or she moved from one location to the next.
“With me personally, both my parents went to Clemson, and they graduated from there, so I was just born into loving them,” junior Jordyn Priester said.
Occurring more than not, sport fans take the teams they follow seriously. They keep up to date with the new team members and previous statistics, and they try to watch every game they can. However doing so can result in both positive and negative results; a positive outcome comes from vast knowledge of the sport, which produces educated conversations between people who support opposing teams. On the other hand, though, the negative side effects may include letting how well the team does affects the person’s day.
“I do [believe that some people take their fandom too seriously]. For example, an Alabama fan in 2010, after [Auburn] beat them [Alabama] in the last few seconds of the game, moved to the SEC Championships, Auburn’s sacred oaks on Toomer’s Corner, that have been around since the beginning of the university, were poisoned. He killed them, just because we beat them,” junior Tanner Corbett said.
Sport fans also fall under the same category as music fans regarding bandwagoners. In the sports category, bandwagoners appears more than those who obsess over singers. Bandwagons make more appearances, especially when the state team appears to do better than in previous years. Examples of this consist of people who followed the Atlanta Falcons in 2017 when they made it to the Super Bowl and the Georgia Bulldogs when they started doing well last season, going on to win the conference title. These two teams now boast a heavier fan base because of how well they did the previous season, and this situation presents itself with other teams as well, not just with football. Recently, the Atlanta Braves made it to the playoffs and almost made it into the World Series. Their following grew exponentially due to that stellar season.
“Everybody likes a winner; it just happens a lot. You see a lot more people now wearing Georgia stuff for instance, and I don’t get mad or upset about it. I like the fact they have the recognition and the following, but I just feel like some fans are just there when [a team is] doing well and then once they struggle they’ll find a different team to hop on board with,” Fraundorf said.
Diehard fans also make a strong presence in this category; however, the capability of either liking or disliking diehard fans endures a debate as well. One side of diehard fans most people can handle, since these fans make sure to keep the peace, while the other form of fans stir up trouble.
“Well, it depends on which type of die hard because there are the mean ones and then there are the chill ones that understand [when to stop]. There are mean diehard fans that will literally hate every other school and be really mean and aggressive towards other fans. If you’re a diehard fan and you stick with the team but you’re respectful to other teams then you’re pretty cool,” Corbett said.
Shockingly, the level of how seriously people take their teams breaks apart friendships. This generally presents itself when two people cheer for rival teams such as Auburn and Alabama or Georgia and Georgia Tech.
“I had a friend, for example, and her friends went to University of South Carolina [Clemson’s rival], and she said that ‘Clemson’ was a bad word in her house with her family and I told her, ‘There’s the door. You can leave,” junior Vicki Zitsch said.
To the disbelief of adults, teenagers also tend to take high school sports seriously. For instance, almost every Friday night, a football game provides students with the night’s entertainment. Students attend these games either to feel included with the rest of the student body or so that they can actually watch the game and understand what happened. When attending NC football games, one half of the student section, usually packed out, contains people who invest their time and money into watching the game and understanding what happened, while the other half know nothing about sports, and they only attend so they can take cute Instagram pictures for their account.
“I like the environment the games give. It’s a lot of fun to go and hangout with your friends while supporting your school. Seeing your team winning makes everyone really happy and provides you with a positive vibe when you leave,” junior Grayson Powers said.
Overall, people tend to take what they love seriously because what they like defines their personality. Fandoms continually change, and no topic ever present in the media stays for more than a week. Sadly, nobody can escape bandwagon fans, and people need to learn how to cope with overbearing ones. Fandoms, overall, consist of people with different personalities and backgrounds, but they all together share one common interest. If someone feels alone then they turn to their fandom for a shoulder to lean on. Fandoms bring diversity to the community and brings people together since they share a similar liking in something.