I’m a fake fan, I’ll admit it. I’m not ashamed of it, nor do I understand why we get so much hate. In all honesty, I don’t even like the term “fake fans,” because it’s not that I’m not part of a fandom; it just isn’t my entire life. I consider myself to be a fake fan in three fandoms in particular: Star Wars, Marvel and professional soccer. I’m here to defend my fake fan-ness, as well as fake fans in general, and prove that we don’t deserve the hate we get.
One criticism I’ve heard is that fake fans lack passion; I disagree. For instance, I was really excited to see “The Last Jedi,” but it wasn’t on the top of my to-do list. I did see it within two weeks of the release date, and I did have feelings about the movie, but whenever I tried to discuss it with people who are more dedicated fans, I’d feel like I wasn’t included as much in the conversation because I hadn’t seen the first few films or the prequels (I did watch “The Clone Wars” on Cartoon Network, but I know it doesn’t count). I run into a similar issue whenever I want to discuss Marvel because I haven’t read the comics. The thing is, I don’t have the time to read hundreds of issues of comic books, nor do I want to. Just because I don’t know some things — a lot of things — shouldn’t exclude me from expressing my opinions. I don’t lack passion, I lack knowledge.
However, while I am passionate, I lack the dedication that a lot of hardcore fans have. I tend to only watch major soccer events, such as the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA European Championship or the Champions League. I also don’t know stats, or most of the players, or lesser known clubs. Nevertheless, I was still nervously biting my nails in 2016 when Germany and Italy had that penalty shootout at the Euro Cup quarterfinal. I also won’t fight with someone if they favor a different team from me or if they criticize players I like, as I just don’t have it in me to be so protective. I enjoy the sport because I find it exciting, and if there’s a big game I’ll tune in, and probably have a good time while watching. If I obsessed over it, some of the fun would go away, and what would be the point if it wasn’t any fun?
Not every person is the same as I am, and I’m sure there are a myriad of reasons as to why people are fake fans. I just believe that how invested someone is in something doesn’t necessarily reflect how much they care about or enjoy it. So if you’re a fake fan, you do you.