Pecan Pie

Social Anxiety from the South

Newsflash: “Fan” is Short for Fanatic

We didn’t watch football when I was a kid. I vaguely remember it being on the television during holidays at my grandmother’s home, but no particular team, rivalry or annual game.

I grew up in Dawg Country. I don’t know why I wound up being a Yellow Jacket fan. My father is an engineer by trade and I suppose this connection, wondering if maybe he went to Georgia Tech and thinking it was so cool to be able to say “helluva” and not get in trouble.

From being on the dance team in high school, cold nights cheering on the home varsity squad to a casual watcher of Tech football each fall, my love of Jacket football has done nothing but grow. I dated a student for a couple of months in high school, earning me my first Bobby Dodd experience. My Yellow Jackets were one of the few constants in my life during those years I was getting high and making a trek towards ruining my life.

I love an underdog…and usually, Tech doesn’t disappoint in that regard each year. We’re continually called “irrelevant”, “geeks in pads” (not an insult. My Jackets build rockets when they aren’t playing football.), “recruiting nightmare”, I could literally go on for an entire blog about how underrated we always are. Our ESPN blogger loves to hate the conference she supposedly writes for and even the Board of Regents of Georgia took a stab by approving an engineering program at our largest rival…even though this could devastate the programs at Tech in the future. The deciding vote on that board? A Techie.

With friends like that…

Recently, I had a little Facebook tiff with someone I don’t know. A friend of mine says, “I’m trying something new each month. This month is football. I need a team.”

Yellow Jackets. Duh.

I was promptly scolded by this other person for backing a team with a high school offense, who hasn’t had national champ status in a long time…and blah, blah, blah.



Let’s talk about the word “fan.”

This is what Merrian-Webster has to say about it: “an enthusiastic devotee (as of a sport or a performing art) usually as a spectator.”

“Fan” is short for fanatic.

Merrian has some words about that entry as well: “marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion.”

My fandom has evolved. That first trip to Bobby Dodd at 16 has turned into plans for a road trip in Dec. for the ACC Championship game (whether we play or VT gets that bid) I’m what you call a ‘rabid’ fan.


It’s not fair-weather. It’s blind devotion, fool! It’s religion, but better, more fulfilling and I get results every week for four and one half months every.single.year. It’s getting the kids up at 6am for a noon kickoff. It’s buying a new cable package so you can get ESPNU 30 minutes before coverage begins. It’s following every uniform with a Twitter account so you can let them know you support them, win or lose. It’s realizing these kids bust their ass all week so you and I and millions of others can feel community; like we are a part of something. And they do it for free. (While espn, schools and the sports industry makes millions.)

It’s meeting Clemson fans, shaking their hands and welcoming them to my favorite place in the whole world, (Atlanta, GA) knowing they will probably win…and leaving with my face hurting because I’m smiling so hard. It’s running off the folks in front of you ’cause you scream them out of the stands.

It’s bourbon. Sweet tea. It’s a hand delivered goal post to Bud’s house.

It is not bandwagon pageantry. It is not writing off athletes who love what they do and want to put up the ‘W’ for the home crowd.

I love us when we win. I love us when we lose.

I respect them season after season.

I’m no Erin Andrews and I’m surely no Heather Dinich, but I know how to watch triple option football and I know how to be a fan.

You either are one, or you aren’t.

Congrats to my Jackets for an amazing upset.

Written by thelittlepecan

October 30, 2011 at 9:33 pm

Posted in atheism

3 Responses

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  1. Since it is closer to the end of the sesaon I would say it will be bigger than TU OU. Should be a great game. One of the stations here in San Antonio is saying it is the game for the national championship. Not sure I completely agree. Only time will tell.


    June 9, 2012 at 8:57 pm

  2. Excellent post! To Hell With ‘Em, we cheer the brave and bold!

    Jesse Gregg

    November 14, 2011 at 7:00 pm

    • I wish more people had seen this post. It’s one of my favorites.

      I’ll dress in white and gold til I die, I will, I will, I will.


      January 16, 2012 at 11:16 pm

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