If you are a regular visitor to Blazer's Edge, you're already a step above the casual basketball fan. Maybe you've only recently become more active in the Blazer community because of their recent progress and seemingly limitless potential, or maybe you were watching the blazers when this whole youth movement thing got started with KP as our interim coach. At any rate, this post isn't intended to define what a true fan is or bicker about bandwagons. I just see an interesting dynamic between myself and a number of my friends and associates. Every one of them would call themselves "blazers fans," but there are stark differences between all of us. For instance, friend #1 might be able to recite our entire roster, where they attended college, and perhaps what their favorite food is, while fan #2 thinks that von wafer was a crappy movie starring Hugh Jackman as a vampire hunter. Anyway, this post is an attempt to classify the levels of fandom into 4 (totally arbitrary) categories and see what kind of fans the blazers have.
*note: As stated above, if you’re participating in this post you’re probably more than a casual fan. So although level 1 is the baseline for this experiment, identifying yourself as a level 1 would still mean possessing more dedication in your left pinkie toe than the average laker fan.
level 1: The dabbler. You go to a handful of games a year (I struggled with including this in the definition because disposable income is an issue here, but most people can afford to see at least a few games in the nose bleeds) where you stand when your section does and claps politely when the gentleman on the loudspeaker makes it clear when it’s appropriate to make noise. You prefer to catch a game on T.V. whenever it happens to be on as opposed to listening to the play by play on the radio. Those around you (co-workers, more casual acquaintances) probably don’t know that you are a blazer fan and although you may make casual blazer related comments, the small talk is more akin to asking about the weather than sparking any meaningful discussion.
level 2: Okay, being a fan is starting to affect your everyday life. You own some blazer related paraphernalia but only wear it around the house or at a game, which you attend somewhat regularly (maybe you’re the 45 year old white guy with the Roy jersey over his button up dress shirt). You keep up with the schedule and try to catch most games on T.V. or radio. Most people who know you know you are a fan of the trail blazers and understand that if they bring them up, they should be prepared to have a somewhat lengthy conversation about the progress of Travis Outlaw, or the impact of Greg Oden’s faux hawk.
level 3: The fan who thinks they can quit anytime they want. The words “bust a bucket who to dunk it blazer duty super sunk it slam it geez it killer threez it go up get it got it good” makes sense to you. You own at least one dairy queen glass with a blazer from the 90’s on it and blazer related clothing is part of your casual attire. People who barely know you are aware of the fact that you are a blazer fan and some may even be annoyed or put off by it. You begin to include “we” in strategy conversations and consider yourself a part of the team (we should have used a zone defense against the Celtics last night). You may have named your dog “Przybilla” and you’ve probably painted your face or brought a homemade sign to the rose garden. You attended as many games as financially reasonable for your income and the ones you didn’t, you watched on T.V., listened to them on the radio, or at least looked up the recap.
level 4: Ah, the fanaddict; the fan who is heartbroken after a disappointing loss and genuinely ecstatic after a big win…you’ve become emotionally attached. You were in pioneer square chanting Oden! Oden! When he was introduced to the city. You were reprimanded by your boss for showing up in blazer practice sweats on casual Friday. You attended more games than what would be considered financially reasonable for your income and you are telling your friends that your first borne son will be named Przybilla as soon as your wife (or husband) okay’s it. There is not a game or newsworthy bit of information that goes unnoticed and your constant need to stay informed on the status of Rudy Fernandez’s contract buyout is threatening your relationships at home. You are at least considering getting a blazer logo tattoo somewhere on your body and you probably spend way too much time typing up lengthy and meaningless fan posts on Blazer’s Edge when you should be sleeping.
Now I don’t expect everyone to fit perfectly into any 1 of these categories, but as there isn’t any room for in-betweens on the poll, you may have to round up (a 3.5 can register as a 4) and just try to pick the level of fandom that you most closely resembles your commitment to the team.