We all know that fan is short for fanatic, but the time has come for the terms, as well as the behaviors they exhibit to be better understood.
In our current social climate, “fanatic” is typically applied to groups associated with the fringes such as religious fanatics and black helicopter fearing, UFO conspiracy theorists.
Following this year’s dismantling of LSU by the Crimson Tide in the BCS championship game, LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson experienced firsthand the ugly face of sports fanatics. Twitter became the forum of choice for voicing fans disgust of his play, which quickly became a downward spiral of the nasty side of human nature
Jefferson was forced into shutting down his Twitter account in the days that followed his abysmal performance due to coarse and vulgar comments that angry LSU Tiger fanatics posted. Jefferson is African-American, but it was blacks and whites alike that were using the most horrific racial terms and attacks on the QB, all because he did not play well enough to win their team a national championship.
Don’t get me wrong, Jefferson played like garbage and his play is not in need of defending. He rightly deserves any and all criticism when it comes to what happened between the hashtags, including allegations that his tackle after an interception was a dirty play and intended to cause harm to the defender.
If you are the type of person that would never use a racial slur or take a cheap shot at anyone you associate with, then you should be consistent and not use these tactics when it comes to an athlete and their performance.
Good character people are consistent and apply their principles in all aspects of life, even when their team loses.
When a fan allows themselves to become a fanatic, the worst of them rears its ugly head and true character is exposed.
Social media can be a great tool and a way for us to express what we hold so dear as Americans — the freedom of speech. Unfortunately, social media can be a reactionary tool that permanently publishes the fleeting thoughts that if given another minute to ponder, most would re-think their choice, thus eliminating a great deal of “Tweeters Remorse”.
At UVU there is a good amount of anti-other-institution hatred compared to actual school pride. Sports fans on campus should take note of all the negativity that can be seen in the media and take stock of their own fanaticism.
True peace of mind and sporting satisfaction will never come from drunken late-night tweets aimed at who lost the game for your team or what other schools are doing in comparison to our own.
Next time you want to tweet a zinger at anyone in anger, step away from the keyboard, put down the cell phone, count to ten and don’t do it.
If you go ahead and pull the trigger on that tweet, you step outside the world of fandom and enter the realm of fanaticism and #yousuck!
Jonathan Boldt can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @jboldt24.