Webster’s Dictionary defines fanatic as a person who is marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense, uncritical devotion to a certain subject. In the sporting world, we use the abbreviated word fan to describe followers of teams and sports.

Based on what Webster’s says, I am not a fan.

Don’t get me wrong, I believe sports are an integral part of a balanced life. But there is more to life than the game.

We see in modern society a definite level of “excessive enthusiasm” for the successes and failure of the teams we support. In many bars and sport-themed restaurants, it takes no time at all to find the table with all the people who clearly know how to coach better than such and such person or would have taken state had the coach put them in during the fourth quarter.

This also extends to those who play rec sports. Every rec league that I have experienced has at least one person who thinks he is being scouted for a future sporting career. From hogging the ball to questioning the officials, their level of seriousness  take all the fun out of even playing sports.

Even as a player, the game isn’t that important. It’s just a game to me.

Does this make me a terrible fan? Surprisingly, no.

More sports fans should take a moment to tone it down — a lot. I get it, when it’s your city or school and the season rides on one game, please, by all means, get loud and proud. Raise your fan flag to the top, and will them on to win.

But once the game is over, leave it on the field.

That’s how players have been doing it for centuries. When the game is over for them, you leave it on the field.

When we over-obsess or let the results of such things take over our daily lives, we have taken it way too far. It becomes so much that we let it devour us and leave nothing left for others to enjoy. This is a source of diversion, so just let it stay that way.

With that out of the way, here’s one of the important reasons why we should enjoy sports: memories.

Growing up, I participated in sports, and I drew the short stick of being on the losing team fairly often. Let me tell you, though, you can have a lot of fun losing.

I remember one football game where we were going against the division champs, and they were favored to beat us. Being the senior and more experienced of the lineman, I looked at some of their players and knew we were outmatched, but for the sake of my teammates, I chose the biggest, meanest player they had and matched myself up with him. Though we lost the game, we sure gave that player one heck of a time, and we had fun.

Another experience came this past summer for my father. Of all the sports out there, he loves baseball the most. He grew up going to Dodgers games, and his dream was to take us to a major league game since I was little. This past summer, we went to a game where the Dodgers played the Texas Rangers, and oh boy, was it a trip. To see my father acting like a little kid again and having the time of his life, I will definitely remember that beyond the end result of that game.

Memories and fun, that’s why sports are important to me. That’s why I write about sports, so others can enjoy the game a bit like I do. So play ball.

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