Don’t be a fair-weather fan

As a city, we need to come together and support our sports teams, no matter the circumstances.

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Don’t be a fair-weather fan

by Carmon Baker, Staff Writer

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My family has always been a baseball family. My younger brother still plays, my older brother played throughout middle school and high school and there always seems to be a Royals game on in the background at my house. When the Royals have a good season, we celebrate, but we still support them throughout their losing seasons. Over the course of the last few years, I have often heard my brother complaining about fair-weather fans, or individuals who only support a sports team when they are winning.

I believe that the point of any sports team is to bring a city together. They provide entertainment for anyone who enjoys the sport, no matter their background. They are supposed to cause events like the World Series Parade in 2015, when thousands of people came together to celebrate a sport. At this event, the environment was extremely positive; everyone seemed to be in a good mood and people of all different backgrounds were coming together and getting along. Yet, the meaningful moments that can result from sports are often impeded by fair-weather fans. By only cheering for winning sports teams, fair-weather fans are depriving themselves and others of important connections and moments that can result from sporting events.

It is apparent to me that fair-weather fans are becoming much more common in Kansas City. In 2015, everywhere I looked I saw people who were wearing Royals shirts — even those who did not support the team. However, I scarcely see people wearing them anymore. It is not only the big things that make someone a fair-weather fan, like attending games and actively cheering for your team, it is also the small things. When someone stops wearing their team’s shirt when they stop winning, they become a fair-weather fan.

The abundance of fair-weather fans in Kansas City is obvious through Royals attendance records. According to Baseball Almanac, in 2015 and 2016 when the Royals were successful, the average game attendance was approximately 33,000 and 32,000, respectively. Yet, in recent years, this number has dropped, reaching an average of only about 20,000 in 2018. It makes me disappointed in our city —we should be able to come together and support each other and our teams, even when they are losing.

Attending a sporting event should not only be about watching your team win. For example, during my freshman year of high school, my family and I attended the Royals’ last home game of the season. Although the Royals lost, I still remember that game because it was a meaningful experience with my family. At the time, we were all so busy with school, extracurriculars and our own sports that we rarely spent any quality time together. This game was an opportunity for us to do that and cheer for a team that we all love.

In addition, over the course of the last few years, I have attended multiple sporting events with my cousins. However, I don’t think that I remember the final score of any of them. What I really remember is bonding with my family and getting to spend time with my cousins, who I rarely see. I can recollect how beautiful the weather was or how happy everyone seemed, but not what was on the scoreboard.

In my opinion, when “fans” of a sports team only cheers for them when they are winning, they completely go against the point of a sports team, which is to bring a city together. Fair-weather fans are creating a divide in our city, instead of allowing the team to bring moments of unity.

Overall, the Royals are not the only team affected by fair-weather fans. Fair-weather fans are a part of all sports teams, but they are a part that we need to improve. It’s okay to want your team to win and it’s okay to be excited when they do, in fact, it’s a very important part of making sports competitive. However, winning should not be our only motivation for attending games and supporting a team.

In my experience, people generally support their friends regardless of whether they are having the best or worst day of their lives, or anywhere in between. Why should we treat our sports teams any differently? Obviously, sports teams are a huge part of my family, so, for me, abandoning them when they are struggling would seem like abandoning my family. So, next time you are bored, consider turning on a Royals game (even for a few minutes) and help break the pattern of fair-weather fans.

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