Training to become a number one fan

Kelsey Henninger

I envy sports fans.

I love their intensity and passion for their team. I enjoy hearing them rattle off random facts and stats about their favorite players. I appreciate knowing that if I ask them when the next game is, they will tell me the date, time and opponent.

I envy sports fans so much that I am slowly becoming one. I like to watch sports, whether it’s football, basketball, volleyball, baseball or soccer. I can sit down and watch the game from the first play to the last.

Last year, around mid-football season, I told my friends I wanted to be a devoted sports fan. The problem now was picking a team. The obvious answer was to become a Cleveland Browns fan. Kent is close to Cleveland and many of my friends have grown up as Brown fans, so learning the history and the traditions would be a breeze. Plus sitting in the dog pound participating in their crazy fan tactics would be fun.

If you know me, I am anything but predictable. I decided I didn’t want to bleed orange and brown. I would rather support a team that will win more than a couple games. I wanted to support a team that is known for being a competitor.

I decided to join my friend Jayme on “the dark side.” I support the Browns’ biggest rivals. I support the city to the east, which proudly displays black and yellow flags in the shop windows.

I am a Pittsburgh Steelers fan.

As a fan, I knew I would be ridiculed and tormented. I expected this behavior from anyone supporting an opposing team; however, it is extremely hard to support my team on rival territory.

Not only am I mocked for being a Steelers fan, I am also taunted because I am newly a Steelers fan.

I cannot name all the players on the team. I cannot name any Hall of Famers. I think we have won five of the six Super Bowls we’ve played in. I do not know when we were founded, and I do not know how many years Troy Polamalu has been growing his hair.

I am a Pittsburgh Steelers fan in training. We do not ridicule freshmen for not knowing the “unofficial mascot” of Kent State, nor do we punish them for not knowing Kent State was founded in 1910, but classes didn’t officially start until 1912.

My lack of knowledge doesn’t make me a bad fan. I know the history and traditions of the Steelers will come to me over time and my love for my team will grow into the passion I envy of other sports fans.

I became a Steelers fan overnight, but I didn’t become an expert overnight. So to those who mock and taunt me for not knowing every intricate detail of my team, ease up. You were once a new fan supporting your team. I just want to be like you, a devoted fan, rattling off facts and stats as I cheer my team to victory.

Kelsey Henninger is a junior journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Tell her about your number one fan story at [email protected].