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What it Means to be a Fan...
By MARLENE D. MALONE, MOP Squad Sports Associate Editor-in-Chief
Oct 3, 2004 - 2:14:00 PM

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What does it mean to be a fan? Usually people would define a fan as someone who expresses interest in a specific sport/team but to me itís so much more. Sometimes a person can be so loyal to a team that it consumes their everyday life. For example, here in Florida there are two college teams that can divide friends and family members.

The teams I am referring to are the University of Florida and Florida State University, better known as the Gators and the Seminoles. Fans of these two schools are so into the storied rivalry it has been known to be the cause of marital strife, family conflict and even bad office politics. Why would anyone take a college team so seriously?

I think it can all be reduced to one word: pride. Floridians are very proud of their colleges and some top class athletes have gone on to successful professional careers. Some families have been sending their children to a specific school for several generations. Our colleges have some of the best curriculums in the Southeast.

Now most of you must be wondering what I mean by loyalty to these teams being taken to the extreme, so Iíll explain what Iím talking about. I am a Seminole fan and have been since I was a small child. In fact, I want to attend law school there. The problem is my neighbors on each side of me are HUGE Gator fans. One is so much into it he named his dog Gator! I work in an office full of Gator fans. My father and sisters are all Gator fans. I even get it from staff members here on MOP Squad!

With this in mind, you can imagine all the backlash I get during college football season. But rest assured I can dish it out! Trust me Iíve hung/tortured my share of Gator dolls, talked garbage about the opposing team, etc. The thing to keep in perspective is itís all in fun.

Some people take their team loyalty so seriously they get into physical confrontations. This to me is simply silly because it is ONLY A SPORT. Why get yourself into a situation over a school rivalry? Itís one thing to talk a little trash or play jokes at the office, but anything beyond that is ridiculous. Therefore, the moral of this article is donít take things like this to the extreme. Have fun and enjoy, but do it sensibly.

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