The Return of The Casual Fan

No face paint needed

Rahman Mohamed

Today Canada is playing football and Toronto is playing baseball with USA.  They’re both playing soccer instead of practicing for the Men’s FIFA World Cup (football).  Neither can deny that in a while since school has started the popular sports seasons will start (especially since there are predictions of more snow not colder winter in most of Canada).  It means that the season of “the fan” is returning, what makes you cool not keeps you cool; the fan is a possible term for the one who did stay home but got tiered of reruns so checked out a game.

Everyone knows the existence of the Crazy Fan.  In Canada the Montreal Canadien and Toronto Maple Leaf Crazy Fans are often icons.  The Maple Leaf fan really shows when the team looks favourable to win a playoff round.  Each city has the crazy fan for its team but the Toronto Raptors Crazy Fan is seen across the country!  Basketball unites the Great White North!

2019, when the Raptors won their first championship, Jurassic Parks for the Raptors and game (public viewing) were across the country, multiple in some parts of the GTA.  The team has rebranded to show Canada; fans often use the hashtag, #WeTheNorth, on social media.  Nathan Phillips Square was a Jurassic Park shut down for some time because of the pandemic but softer rules provincially suggest it might open this year.

You can’t deny that NHL and NBA are big in Canada but this year the early season will face stiff competition with Canada in the FIFA Men’s World Cup after over 3 decades.  And the MLB Toronto Blue Jays look good for possibly reaching post-season in the 30th anniversary season of their first World Series.  The Crazy Fan and the Casual Fan will face the choice: FIFA appearance, NHL season opener, NBA season opener or possibly MLB post-season, hardest for the fan of all.  So what exactly is a Casual Fan?

Different writers on Urban Dictionary describe the Casual Fan being someone that cares but more laidback – someone who is a Star Trek fan but not offended and pulling a phaser if you ask which episode Darth Vader was in.  Some say the Casual knows some but not a lot (knows when the Leafs last won the Stanley Cup but doesn’t know the different types of shots and penalties in hockey).

Andy Kious of Fantom describes the Casual Fan being third level after the Original and the Extreme.  The Extreme are termed “crazy” and the Casual is not.  The Casual also described as knowing the “team’s history, rivals, and possibly the best players that have or are currently playing.”  The Casual knows camouflage; supports the team but doesn’t wear a jersey to the office, just to the bar when watching with friends or going to a tailgate.

At the same time there are different degrees of Casual.  Often the Casual watches the game but not all (chooses bedtime over the 1am puck drop).  Keeps up with the team, knowing score and some other stats but text about the good shot instead of watching the passing on TV.  Andy describes the degrees as “the Novice, the Common, and the Die-Hard fan”.  The Novice is suggested someone still learning (picked up game just before return to normal), the Common someone who follows and goes to bars or parties for socialising more than to watch the game (doesn’t mind physical distancing but doesn’t like social distancing; chose the games instead of reruns), and the Die-Hard uses PVR to skip commercials and has small collection of goodies in a corner (knows camouflage).

So Casual Fan is just someone who budgets and won’t buy a Jersey if team colours are in good quality casual for half the price.  Depending on the level Casual might watch the post-season or just keep up on a phone.  Some go to a tailgate but not if it means sacrificing time with a cat.  During a late January Saturday game the Casual likely sitting on the couch in PJs; probably hasn’t even shoveled  or blown the white after the Friday night storm.

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