Changing a distaste for ‘rainy day fans’

By Allyson Kloster

I’ve been hearing grumblings from my friends – both hardcore Cubs and White Sox fans – about the supposed onslaught of rainy day fans.

“How dare he root for them now? Two months ago he couldn’t name one player on the team!”

Right on, I thought. These alleged fans are phonies.

I soon saw it as my journalistic duty to call out all the phony fans of the world and put them on watch.

But then I talked with my parents.

When I asked them what they thought a rainy day fan was, they couldn’t answer. Instead, they provided justification for why their fanhood was acceptable.

Could this mean I was raised by rainy day fans?

Naturally, I asked them if they thought it was so.

Mom proudly stated she was a rainy day Bears, Cubs and Sox fan because professional sports are too cold and detached. Yet, she’d always root for them.

Dad said there’s no such thing as a rainy day fan. You root for whoever you want. After all, sports teams are dollar-and-cents businesses. If you don’t like the product you’re watching, you don’t have to watch it.

Great. Once again, the parental unit successfully muddled my brain.

The more I understood their points of view, the less I understood what it was I was trying to prove. Fully immersed in this dilemma, I ditched my argument. How could I possibly prove rainy day fans were lame when I couldn’t even define one? In fact, I was having trouble figuring out what made a person a fan in the first place.

So, I looked to myself.

Am I fan? I’ve never seen the Bears or Sox play in person, yet I consider myself to be a hardcore fan of both.

However, I have been to Wrigley Field several times, and grew up cheering on the Cubs. To this day, I won’t root against the Cubbies unless they’re playing the Sox. Would that make me a Cubs fan?

Yes. Yes. Yes. No matter what you say, I am a fan of all three teams.

What makes a person a fan is not the number of games one attends or the amount of money one spends on the team – be it on merchandise or a Rex Grossman shrine built in the attic – but rather whether or not one supports the team when they’re on the field. There is no measuring tool that determines what kind of fan you are. You’re either a fan or not.

Just because I lost some interest in the Bears last season does not mean I stopped wishing them well. And just because I didn’t root for the Cubs for six games this season does not mean I didn’t cheer them on the other 155.

I understand that most fans invest emotionally in their team. It’s good to have that passion, but we need to use it for rooting on our team, not against potential fans.

If you think someone is a rainy day fan, nurture them. Enjoy their company. How else do new fans get created?

The moment we start comparing each other is the moment we become as phony as the people we accuse, since we lose touch of the reason we became fans in the first place. We forget about the team.

It doesn’t matter if you flip on a Bears game just because you’re obsessed with the Super Bowl Shuffle.

All that matters is that you’re rooting for them.

Allyson Kloster is a senior in Media. She can be reached at [email protected]