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EDITORIAL: It’s okay to be a fan

Why do sports feel less welcoming towards fans these days? Here’s a reminder that it’s okay to be just a fan.

NFL: Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

First, allow me to say, that this is not intended to be a defense of myself. This is meant to be a defense of fans in a time when technology is changing the ways in which we interact with one another.

First, let me get something off of my chest that I’ve been thinking about since the beginning of the 2016 San Diego Chargers season:

No matter what anybody tells you, it is okay to be a fan. In fact, some people would argue that it is the most pleasant way to watch an NFL game.

Just because you have a Twitter account, just because you have friends on Facebook that think you know a lot about football, does not mean that you need to be an expert that offers unbiased analysis. There’s entertainment value in biased opinions!

As an example, if you say, “The Chargers are unbeatable and the rest of the league should be afraid of them!” online just days after an online post that says, “I can’t believe this putrid Chargers team. They won’t win another game this season,” that’s okay! Seriously!

People will reply to your latest post with links to your previous post, as a way to shame you into feeling like you’ve done something wrong by disagreeing with yourself, but just remember: Being a fan of a sports team is about your own enjoyment, not the enjoyment of the commenters on a website. It also gives you the opportunity to change your mind whenever you want.

Did you have fun being happy when the team looked unbeatable? Of course!
Did it feel good to vent when the team looked putrid? Absolutely!

Every once in a while, it is important to remind ourselves they were pretty insignificant. We are smaller than gnats on a basketball, and the couple of thousand people that follow you on Twitter represent an incredibly small percentage of the population. Don’t let them bother you.

I can’t stress this enough: Be a fan. Enjoy the highs. Ride out the lows. Be a fan in whichever way makes you happiest, and let other fans be fans in whichever way makes them happiest. At the end of the day, sports are just a distraction and a way for us to feel our emotions more vividly. Why spoil it by trying to take all of the fun out of it? Let’s leave that to the journalists and let’s support each other’s right to be fans in our own respective way, even if that means occasionally disagreeing with ourselves.