The true sign of a football fan is not the love of the 'home team' as normal protocol. It is the irrational emotional attachment, commitment and investment in holding your team close to your heart. No t-shirt or flag is needed, only the desire to cheer on each victory in exaltation, or be hurt personally over each loss in devestating fashion. A wise man once said "You must approach each game hopefully pessimistic, so victory is that much sweeter".
As most of you may not know, I live in the Cleveland area. My fanhood is often questioned by the locals here, I am always asked why I don't move to Pittsburgh... and am often accused of being a bandwagon fan. I can trace my being a fan to 1972 specifically, and tell it to anyone who questions my loyalties. That year my father, who in his prime was 6'2" and 265lbs, tried out for the Pittsburgh Steelers (i have lost some of the specifics due to time, embellishment, and being a toddler ofcourse). He always told me of thinking he was a big, tough man until he showed up. He soon was humbled and had his backside handed to him all week, and he was offered a spot on the practice squad. Back then he had young kids to feed, and instead chose to stay with driving truck and not being a tackling dummy. That was also the year my pappap became a foreman at J&L Steel, he was always a huge fanatic of Steelers football (as is my entire family)... I still have the Steelers hat he wore the day he retired, I refuse to wash it because it smells like steel. As I grew up to manhood Sundays have always been special, Church then pancakes then Stillers n Suds. That hat is 15-1 in the playoffs, and I still love beer.
So, whenever I have a Cleveland fan (or any other fan for that matter) ask why I am a fan I show them my hat, crack open a beer, and tell them my story.
Then I ask them...
Are you a true fan? I am
Onward to next season