Who knows, this might be interesting, or it might not.
The terms bandwagon, fairweathered, and true get thrown around a lot. I know this subject is one that is somewhat near and dear to my heart. Im sure many might have different takes on this. Some very different from mine, but i thought it might be intriquing to discuss it. To begin, as threatened previously, this is my take on what being a fan means to me and how it relates to the Indiana Pacers, Dallas Cowboys, and anything else i would choose to be a 'fan' of.
An ardent devotee; an enthusiast.
[Short for fanatic.]
A person marked or motivated by an extreme, unreasoning enthusiasm, as for a cause.
synonyms: enthusiast, devotee, addict, admirer, supporter, rooter, aficionado, believer, maniac, worshiper, freak, crazy, eccentric, partisan, zealot, lover, votary, nut, optimist, etc.
I do find the synonyms very interesting as well as the definition. There appears to be this 'dont go there' zone when discussing this whole subject of being a fan-most notably questioning if someone is a 'true fan'. Inevitably the conversation usually revolves around one not being 'realistic' while another is deemed to be 'irrational or unreasonable', when by definition this is part of what being a fan really means.
To me....there is a definite, and I cant emphasize how definite, difference between being a fan and a follower. That is to say theres a difference between a Pacer's fan and a Pacers follower.
One who subscribes to the teachings or methods of another; an adherent: a follower of Gandhi.
A servant; a subordinate.
A fan; an enthusiast.
One that imitates or copies another: A successful marketing campaign will have many followers.
n 1: an ordinary person who accepts the leadership of another
At first glance they appear to mean pretty much the same thing. 'Fan' is even used as a definition for follower. The two words share many of the same synonyms. However, the lack of extreme and unreasoning seem to be very noteable. Implication being that a follower would be much more 'reasonable' at times in his support versus the fan that would be much more 'unreasonable' and 'extreme' in his support.
I often think that when people use the term 'true fan' its usually going to this very point. For instance, if someone questions whether someone is a 'true fan', it seems they are usually questioning this person for not being fanatical. That is to say, that person appears to be too reasonable, which I understand is a bit difficult to grasp. But as is clearly implied, one must definitely be unreasonable and extreme when it comes to their support. Usually someone is questioning someone's lack of support and the rationale they are using for not being supportive of a certain subject. Bottom line, being a fan would appear to mean supporting something we not only dislike or disagree with, but find it unreasonable to do so.
U could definitely take this to mean that, while a person might have a very reasonable and rational reason for not supporting something, when it comes to their team, by not doing so, they are indeed, by definition, not really being a fan at that moment. Since one cant be a fan one moment and not the next without being a bandwagon or fairweathered type, one could definitely argue that they, indeed, are not a fan, but much more of a follower. It seems reasonable to assume a follower could choose to disagree or just not support certain aspects, while still being able to be a follower, though im sure a case for the opposite could be argued as well.
Either way i dont find it too much of a stretch to say you can have a 'true' follower that simply isnt a 'true' fan. A true fan would be someone that supports everything, regardless whether he agrees or not. While a true follower would only support those things he can agree with, or at least not disagree with enuff to make a difference. If someone would argue that this is being totally unreasonable, I would probably be inclined to say, "exactly, which is the whole point, and goes right to the core of the situation". So the irrationality of it all ends up being the real and most telling evidence of a true fan.
So i guess the following would seem to be reasonable: Those that would like to pick and choose, based on their own thoughts and feelings, what they support and what they dont, could most accurately be described as a true follower but not a true fan. It would also seem that one could be equally passionate no matter which of these he really is. So to call one a follower would not be questioning, in any way, a persons passion. In fact, I would propose that's not so much an accusational statement as much as a statement of fact. Those that are indeed followers and not fans should not , in any way, feel slighted or feel that this is a derogatory question or statement. In fact i would be so bold as to point out that u might indeed take some satisfaction from this type of statement-because it means ur not willing to sacrifice ur own personal convictions or thoughts-not even for ur favorite team which u feel so passionately about.
Hey, being a fan isnt easy. Or, u might say its not rational. So all u followers take consolance, ur obviously far more rational than those of us that are fans.
In case your wondering, and hadnt already picked up on it. Im a fan. The fact that many of u might think Im being a bit irrational and unreasonable, even extreme about certain subjects is my most prized proof.