Thoughts on genre, language, grammar, and other
rhetorical and linguistic norms
rhetorical and linguistic norms
Are you a true fan? There will be a quiz at the end
I have been friends with Marcia since high school, when we played together in the marching band, worked at the same nearby department store, and shared our high school secrets. I was her maid of honor; decades later she was one of the witnesses at my wedding, but in between we’d lived far apart and not always kept in close touch. Now that we both live in the same area again, we can have regular lunches and return to sharing our secrets.
One fact about Marcia that is no secret—but was new to me when we reconnected—is that she is a huge Royals fan.
Royals as in the 2015 World Series winning championship baseball team. Somewhere between 500,000 and 800,000 people (depending on the source) turned out for the celebratory victory parade in Kansas City. But Marcia was a fan long before the Royals were the champions. And as a huge Royals fan, Marcia is a member of the whole community of Royals fans.
We’re both big fans of the KU Jayhawks men’s basketball team, so I know how to Rock Chalk Jayhawk. But I’m a mere occasional watcher of the Royals. So at one of our lunches Marcia taught me what it means to be part of Royals Nation. As baseball's regular season comes to a close, and for those of you who aspire to true fandom, here’s what being a true Royals fan means.
It means you're a fan all season long. Marcia watches every game on TV. She builds her schedule around when the team is playing (listening to the radio broadcast of a game is a poor substitute). Two other friends of mine, at separate social events within the same week, excused themselves recently because they needed to get home in time to watch the game.
You go to as many games as you can. Marcia’s son, with season tickets, has treated her to some great times in Kauffman Stadium, including sharing a reward from work with special seats in the Diamond Club, the section behind home plate. Marcia has traveled to away games. She and her friends took a recent vacation to Minneapolis to watch the Royals face the Minnesota Twins in their three-game series.
Of course, like any true Royals fan, Marcia has plenty of Royals gear to wear to those games—and to wear at home while watching the games. Any true fan knows you have to keep wearing the same clothes when the team is on a winning streak in critical games. Royals merchandise is in big demand. A recent give-away of a Salvy Splash bobblehead to the first 20,000 fans through the gates had people lining up at 1:30 for the sold-out (that’s 38,000 attendees) 6 pm game. Marcia can tell me stuff like that, because she’s a true fan.
A true fan doesn’t just sit and watch the games in Royals attire. Marcia keeps stats when she watches the games, of course. Scorecards make that easy for those who know how. At the stadium, the scoreboard is full of players’ stats and game stats to follow. You can chant Let’s Go Royals when the team needs a lift. And you have to follow your rituals (Marcia watches the games with a wishing dragon sitting beside her at home, rubbing its claws to wish for a hit, strike out, or whatever the team needs from her), just like the team itself has its superstitions and rituals. The Salvy Splash is still a winner, though the Rally Mantis seemed to me to have become a bad omen when he died. Rally Mantis Junior returned some luck, joining the team at Comerica Park in Detroit, where the Royals swept the series. "When he left the team Sept 5 to go to a nature center in Missouri," Marcia tells me, "Rally Mantis Jr was 12-6 and we were 3 games back in wild card race."
True fans know a lot, from the stats of the team and players to the walk-up music of each batter. When I asked Marcia if she knew the walk-up music, she looked at me like I’d asked if she knew her son’s name. Less knowledgeable fans can learn more from the Royals media guide, yearbook, or Baseball Insider magazine. Or maybe they use an app like the MLB’s AtBat.
Every fan knows the mascot Sluggerrr, and if you’re young enough you can join Sluggerrr’s Blue Crew fan club for kids. Young women can audition for the Royals KCrew. Everyone can be part of the Social Media Clubhouse by liking the Royals on Facebook, tagging @Royals on twitter, or following the team on Google Plus, Pinterest, tumblr, or Snapchat. Or you can display your Royals pride on a laptop stickon or, like Marcia, your bumper sticker so that everyone knows, whether you’re in a club or not, on social media or not, that you are #ForeverRoyal
For Marcia--and many true fans--following the team is a lifelong family and friends activity, creating a tighter community within the larger one. Going to the ballpark together, watching games together at home, messaging during the games, talking about the games afterward, and going to the ballpark together--all ways of connecting through the team. To recognize and commemorate that shared love of the team and each other, Marcia honored her father, who first taught her how to be a true Royals fan, and her mother, who helped her continue the tradition after her father died and through her own illness, with a legacy brick placed at Kauffman Stadium
Games, gear, logos and hashtags, mascots, rituals, scorecards and scoreboards, tickets, media guides, music, and fan clubs. And the slogans and chants and experiences and memories
All the markers of a true fan and the makers of a true fan community.
How about you? How well do you score as a true fan of your team? Give yourself one point for each statement below that is true for you
For my KU Jayhawks, I scored a 12 out of 15. Not bad. My proudest acquisition is my Coach Bill Self bobblehead, a lucky giveaway snag. I may try rubbing his head for luck during the next March Madness, to add to my watch party’s ritual of turning my Jayhawk earrings (or taking them off altogether if the situation is desperate). I think I qualify as a true fan and a member of the Jayhawk community. #RockChalk
Marcia, of course, scored 15 out of 15. For this week's post at the end of baseball's regular season, Marcia gets the last word, as a true fan and a true member of the Royals community
As I am watching my final game for 2016 season.....disappointed that we don't have October baseball but proud of our boys in blue and encouraged for next year to once again be Forever Royal” -- Marcia