Baseball fans at a Cincinnati Reds game

Our unique series about the different kinds of fans continues.  So far we have covered the first and second level of fandom; The Original fans and The Extreme fans.  Now we meander our way into the third level of fandom: The Casual fans.

Where do you find the Casual type of fan, you ask?  Casual fans are definitely not “crazy” like the Extreme fan.  They can share some similarities with the Original fans; such as knowing their team’s history, rivals, and possibly the best players that have or are currently playing.  A Casual fan may be the most common kind of fan out there, but they are probably the most difficult one to pick out.

Considering that most people would probably self-diagnose as a “Casual” fan in order to avoid any stigma, spotting a true casual fan is not so easy.  A casual fan may not even know the type of fan they truly are, until they are following a crowd of crazy fans down the streets of Philadelphia or Washington, D.C and think to themselves, “this is not my thing.”   

Urban Dictionary defines a Casual fan as, “someone who isn’t particularly into their fandom. They enjoy it, know some trivia, see some movies, have some stuff.”  Therefore, that really just means that Casual fans are simply more laid back than the other types of fans. I however, think that explanation is only half true.  Explaining a fan as “someone who isn’t particularly into their fandom” sounds like someone who is more of a fair-weather fan than anything…but that’s another story, for another time.   

A Casual fan can be someone not fully invested in their team or they may just be starting to learning about it all.  They could be the person who occasionally checks in on their team like watching if there happens to be a game on tv but, in reality, is drinking their beer or looking at their phone more than the actual tv.  A Casual fan could be slightly more dedicated, in which they get score updates and alerts on their phone for their team.  They could also have multiple team jerseys, hats, or other paraphernalia but really it all depends on the level of devotion of this casual fan.

When I look into the Casual fan, I find there are actually sub-levels in this type of fandom.  Those sub-levels can be simply broken down into 3 groups: the Novice, the Common, and the Die-Hard fan.

Now, there’s no need to get mad at a Novice Casual fan.  They aren’t necessarily “Fair-Weather” nor “Bandwagon” fans, which we will talk about later.  The Novice Casual fan is still learning how much they like their newly appointed sport or team.  However, it is easy to get frustrated with these fans because they tend to ask many questions, that some would expect any type of fan to know.  They are usually learning from fellow fans about their new favorite sport or team and may not know all the customs or lingo connected with their new fandom.

Indian-American millennials are among a growing population that is embracing American Football

I mean, some things just can’t be learned through a simple Google search.  Some traditions have to be passed down from one fan to another.  They will get it eventually and the Novice Casual fan could quickly become an Extreme fan or an Original fan for their family.  Only time will tell.

The Common Casual fan is not as aloof about their sport or team as Urban Dictionary would define, but they are close.  I feel that the Common Casual fan simply keeps up with their team; they know what they need to know and will display their fandom when necessary.  However, their life does not revolve around the team or the sport.  If they do go to a bar and their team is on tv, they will watch, but they’re probably there just to hang out with their friends.

If they are invited to a watch party, they will probably go, but their time won’t be consumed by the telecast.  Common Casual fans are more likely to feel sad if their team loses, but their life isn’t over because of it.  They love the team and sport just as much as any Original or Extreme fan but, generally, aren’t as invested on a personal level.

This, my friends, is where the grey area of the Die-Hard Casual fan starts.  I’m not talking about the kind of Die Hard some of you may be thinking of.  So, you John McClane lovers, please settle down.  My idea of “Die-Hard Casual” fans is that person who is invested in the team, but has a sense of self-awareness and self-respect that Extreme fans may not have.

This sub-level of Casual fans practically lives and dies with the team.  When Die-Hard Casual fans aren’t able to watch the game on their preferred method of entertainment intake, they will make sure to get the updates on their phone, or by whatever means necessary.  They will make sure to either DVR the game so they can skip commercials or just watch the highlights after the game is over.

This is the person with multiple jersey, hats, or other items hanging on a wall or sitting on a shelf.  The Die-Hard Casual fans love their team and they love their sport, they just don’t throw their fandom in the face of every single person they come across.  They, also, won’t start a fight with a person who happens to be a fan of a rival team.  They are able to defend their team without throwing punches because they have a simple respect for people of all fandoms. 

A Casual fan is more complicated than the word itself.  This level is more nuanced than you would have thought, and isn’t nuance the spice of life? …Or is it Lawry’s?  Mrs. Dash?   Maybe it’s time we moved on to our next level of fandom… Fair-Weather.