Now onto the next level of fandom; the Extreme. If you just jumped into this topic, you may want to look back at the other types of fandoms we’ve talked about; look here for the first of this 5 article series.
An Extreme fan is one of the easiest fandoms to find. They will be the ones in the crazy costumes, their body completely painted, or some other ridiculous and elaborate decorations. Definitely, screaming their head off. Most likely you will find them cussing at an umpire or referee for making, what they consider, a “bad” call for their team. Sometimes, you can find Extremes in your own home; throwing objects at their very expensive television after their team loses. They can get so frustrated and angry that they will throw their TV at a wall or even out the door in frustration. Those times do make for some silly viral youtube videos like this New Orleans Saints fan or this Buffalo Bills fan.
Extreme fans create intense emotional connections with the team(s) they root for. Wins and losses will dictate how they feel for the rest of the day or week depending on the time span between games. When the team wins, you win! Wins fill us with jubilant, happy, and cheerful emotions. When the team loses, you lose. Losses create a bitter, angry, or possibly violent reaction with Extremes. Of course, most violent actions are taken out on the previously mentioned televisions because, you know, it’s the tv’s fault the team lost.
Often, an Extreme probably won’t even know they are an Extreme. They sometimes simply say that they are “just passionate” about their team(s). They will have rooms in their home dedicated to their team(s). You know the term “man-cave?” These rooms will have wall to wall memorabilia that will be new and retro, autographed and/or special edition. The walls and/or flooring will, most likely, match the team’s colors in some form or fashion.
Extreme fans dedicate so much time and effort into their team(s). Putting in that much feeling, be it real and raw emotions, into a team will pull out the best and worst of people. I’m not surprised when an Extreme displays each acute side of the emotional spectrum. Just like any relationship, having that much invested into something can be both physically and emotionally draining.
The Extreme fan truly attaches them self to the team. They may not know the players, coaches or any front office people personally, but to this type of fan it’s all personal. To an Extreme fan this is like family. An insult to the team is an insult to them, personally.
No matter the opponent, be it a better arch-rival or lamb led to slaughter, the Extreme fan will believe their team is destined to win. This is when I’m reminded of the 2018 Final Four tournament. The world was introduced to the Retrievers of University of Maryland – Baltimore County. This was the first time in history that a #16 seed beat a #1 seed, which happened to be Virginia. Virginia, by the way, was also the #1 overall ranked team in the Nation at the time.
Extreme fans can also be found in Europe with the Ultra football fans. Shouting chants and shooting flares on to the field for their teams. Let’s not forget those “Crazies” found in the “hallowed” halls of Cameron Indoor Stadium. Extreme fans are found at every economic levels and in all different shapes and sizes. However, the “passion” these fans feel for their team is all the same, but maybe these extreme “passions” are just as much superstition as anything else.
Maybe an Extreme fan feels that if they cheer louder their team will hit that desperately needed home run. If they sit in a certain spot their team will make this field goal. Perhaps, if they wear those “lucky” shirt, shorts, or underoos a win is most definitely guaranteed.
No matter what the reason for an Extreme fan to exist, if it wasn’t for these Extreme fans I know the games would not be the same. Extreme fans help make people want to go to the games or watch them on TV. We want to see the “crazy” costume they have come up with. We want to see their “crazy” responses to wins and losses. We want to wonder, what drove them to do such “crazy” things.