The baseball season ended this week. Now, I know that there are four teams still involved in the playoffs but, for me, for my family, it ended once our beloved Chicago White Sox was eliminated. The playoffs were a big deal for my family as everything from clothing choices to daily schedules to unplanned but necessary debriefings became a part of our lives for a week or two. As I think many of you already know, I grew up a Sox fan. It is in my blood. Not only did I grow up on the south side of Chicago and attended many, many games, but my mom grew up a Sox fan as her dad was a big fan. In fact, my grandpa used to sneak up into old Comiskey Park from the Chicago sewers with his brothers as they could not afford to go to games. This fandom was taught to my siblings and me. We, in turn, taught it to my nieces who are also big Sox fans. Yet, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that we are really part of a fan community. We share our fandom together and with other family members but we have never really sought out other fans. There is no commenting on social media about performances, players, on-the-field decisions, etc. While our love for the team is enormous, our fandom is limited but has had an influence.
When I look at my family and think about fandom, we all share a passion for one baseball team. Some of us, however, have found joy in other fandoms. My brother, as I am sure I have mentioned, is a big comic book fan. As a kid, he collected them and loved all of the superheroes featured in many of the most popular. This led him to buy action figures, draw fanart and more. As an adult, he still collects them. Even more significant, it led him to write books on the topic, teach college classes about it and more. Fandom is a big part of his life. That being said, I’m not sure how much he is involved with a fan community. I don’t know how much, if at all, he talks with other comic fans. Then, there is my youngest niece. She does talks to other fans of whatever she is into at any given time. Yes, the subject of her fandom has changed over the years. Generally, she has found TV fandom fun but has participated some with a couple of band fandoms. Her fandom tends to run deep but are not always long lasting as she bounces from one fandom to another. Then, there is me. I have not hid the fact that I have been involved in other fandoms besides this one but no fandom is like the Duran fandom for me. So, like my niece, I have been open to falling in love with other subjects of fandom but, like my brother, I have had one main one that has lasted since I was a kid. Then, there are the other members of my family. While they love the Sox, no one else has really been a part of any fan communities. My sister definitely has not and the same is true with my oldest niece.
So, here is my question. Why are some people prone to become members of fan communities and others are not? Why did my brother and I become serious fans but not my sister? Why does my youngest niece bounce from fandom to fandom while my brother and I have generally focused on one our entire lives? I need someone to explain the psychology of this. Is there something about one’s personality that might lead them to become big fans? I think, in the case, of my niece and myself, we tend to be pretty intense in our thinking and feeling especially in comparison to the non-fans in our family. My brother doesn’t really fit that. Are there sociological influences? Has society pushed some of us to be fans? I could argue that the ease of communication between fans definitely helps increase or reinforce one’s fandom love. I know that being around other fans or talking to other fans result in a stronger love for Duran, at least, for me. It is definitely easier for my niece than it was for my brother reading comic books in the 1970s. In my case, I did have a best friend who loved Duran as much as I did when I was a kid. I’m sure that helped my fandom to grow. I would be curious about people who became Duranies without other fans around them. What keeps people fans without being part of a fan community of sorts?
What else could be causing some people to become part of a fan community but not others? I also wonder why some people are like my niece in bouncing from one fandom to another versus people who have been part of just one fandom. Why does that happen? I have often thought those people who bounce are seeking the high that happens when you first get into something. It is all good with no disappointments. It is like when you first start dating someone and they seem all fabulous but over time, flaws and quirks are more obvious. You then have to look beyond those to commit. Is the same thing true with fandom? I know that Duran is not perfect and I accept that. Heck, I probably, in some ways, love the band more as a result. Of course, I also know that the fan community is not perfect either. I have accepted it as I continue to be a part of it. Maybe, some of that imperfection leads some people to seek a new fandom. I don’t know.
I really do not have any good answers to any of this. What I can say is that I find it all very interesting and love to ponder the possible reasons. What do the rest of you think? Why are some people big fans of one thing while others bounce from fandom to fandom? Why are some people drawn to fan communities and others not at all? I would love to hear your thoughts and also your experiences.