This spring I found myself quite unexpectedly a die-hard Kolkata Knight Riders fan for the IPL 2013 campaign. Despite the fact that a few weeks before I had had to do comprehensive research before I could even a name an IPL team, I genuinely cared what happened in KKR's games. I was frustrated by Yusuf Pathan getting out early, Kallis scoring too slowly, Gambhir never converting a start and the failure to select Lee or Ten Doeschate. I downloaded the app and had ITV4 on constantly. My point being, I became a real fanatic. Sadly, the reigning champions and theoretical challengers for the title ended a dismal 6-10 record and early elimination.
Then comes the Women's Euros over the last couple of weeks. The sweepstake is organised, the team names on the bits of folded paper inside the mug. I draw France. Now my knowledge of women's football was such that I knew the USA were the best, and that England were decent, but beyond that, couldn't exactly claim to be an expert. A quick bit of research and I realise France are pretty decent and in with a shout. £16 here I come. Then, when it all came to an end against a stubborn and organised Danish team in the quarterfinals, I found myself genuinely disappointed (and not for the sake of £16 potential winnings).
The reason for my aimless ramblings is that it got me wondering how we come to form affiliations with teams, develop affections or even fanatical passion. It's probably fair to say that most people support a sports team of some description, whether that be football, cricket or tennis, club or national teams. And probably even more follow and support certain individuals in sports like tennis, F1, snooker or golf.
Most would agree that the most passionate/fanatical fans would tend to be those who have a geographic/nationalistic link to their team but there are unquestionably other reasons and factors that lead to fervent support. Why do you support who you do?