Hakuna Matata and the Concept of Fanhood

Blog tip: 4 out of 5 dentists agree that your enjoyment of this blog will increase if you play this song in the background before you continue reading. Never pay attention to the 5th dentist.

I’LL MAKE A FAN OUT OF YOU. Contemplating the meaning of fanhood, my mind (un)naturally went to Disney’s Mulan. In fact, it’s likely this song – like any good Disney song – will loop in my head for several hours.

BE A FAN. This year’s March Madness brought awareness to my evolving definition of what it means to be a fan. Don’t get me wrong, catch me a few years ago and I was your “superfan” … travelling across the country with friends and Buckeye Nation. Glendale. Seattle. Los Angeles. New Orleans. (There’s a handful of add’l OSU Where’s Waldo pics of me that may resurface.) But working in academic support for athletics, and competing in a variety of sports settings, I have come to a stunning realization: A team losing does not take anything away from their effort or character.

Waldo pic

BE A FAN. I used to punish myself over losses. Over-analyze what could have been done differently. And while there are great learning experiences in losing, many times it means that during that instance, that game, things just didn’t pan out. March Madness brought several awesome examples to remind me of why I’m a fan of sports. The Dayton Flyers took out Ohio State in the 1st game of the NCAA tournament, and I wasn’t heartbroken. I felt for the Buckeyes, their loss didn’t change my perspective of them as student-athletes, and I gladly supported Dayton through their Elite Eight run (#GoFlyers). It was fun to see their players and fan base enjoy the moment. This kid also made me smile.

BE A FAN. Then craziness ensued this past weekend, as I found myself rooting for Michigan (#TTUN) in their loss against Kentucky. I only cared about the Big Ten and some great basketball. In my moment of weakness – cheering for our rival Wolverines – I also sat there in a moment of peace. Win or lose, there were no worries: Hakuna Matata (ahem, what a wonderful phrase). That’s what it really means to be a fan.

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