That victory is sweet there can be no doubt. Just watch fans in the moments immediately after their team has won – especially a big game against a traditional rival, or better yet the Super Bowl, World Series, NCAA Basketball finals, etc. Ecstatic, they shout, jump up and down, embrace, hi-five, and where permitted, pour onto the court or field. They are in no hurry to leave, but wish rather to join with others in rejoicing and hopefully catching sight of their heroes before they rush off to the locker room to celebrate together. These fans have rooted for this bunch of guys all season long, suffered after losses, but never losing hope that they might come through in the end. And now that they have, euphoria reigns. All is fine with the world: it’s great to be alive. While players savor the moment, deliriously happy because of what they’ve just accomplished, their fans are no less excited. For them the emotional rewards are nearly as intense.
We all recognize such scenes – they occur every season and, in most every team sport. But we need not focus solely on championship events; it also happens throughout the regular season. When our teams win exhilaration sets in immediately. Even those normally reticent suddenly turn animated, outgoing, upbeat. Victory for them ignites a spark, serves as an instant elixir.
As a fan I’ve experienced such sensations countless times. It’s the reward we’re entitled to for our continued loyalty and support, whatever the circumstances. “Our boys” have come through for us. We share in their victory.
And the feeling lingers. Who can wait for or resist watching or listening to post-game commentary and analysis? Replays rekindle excitement. Without uncertainty about the outcome , what better time to savor the plays that brought victory?
The afterglow even extends into the following day. We devour all media accounts of the game together with reporting from behind the scenes. There’s no such thing as too much information, we absorb every detail. We seek out fellow fans and share details of the victory with them. And even as we go about our business, memories still vivid of the “win,” filter into our thoughts. It’s all good.
But as true fans we’re always on edge, never entirely comfortable or confident. What about the next game or the following season? Be assured though, we’ll be there – “Our” team needs us.