A fan, aficionado or supporter is someone who has an intense, occasionally overwhelming liking of a sporting club, person, group of persons, company, product, work of art, idea, or trend. Fans of a particular thing constitute its fanbase or fandom. They may start a fan club, hold fan conventions, create fanzines, write fan mail, or engage in similar activities.
In a few cases, individual fans may become so fascinated with the objects of their infatuation that they become obsessive. These fans engage in behaviors that are considered extreme or abnormal This includes idolatry or other forms of worship, such as creating a personal shrine dedicated to the idol at one's home, and can sometimes extend to the point of the fans becoming stalkers.
Supporter is a synonym to "fan" which predates the latter term and as such is still commonly used in British English, especially to denote fans of sports teams. However, the term "fan" has become popular throughout the English-speaking world, including the United Kingdom. The term supporter is also used in a political sense in the United States, to a fan of a politician, a political party, and a controversial issue.
The term "krank" (or crank) is a now-obsolete term for baseball fans in particular, and also carried much the same connotation as both "fanatic" and "fancy", of devoted attachment to something, in this case a team.
There are certain common characteristics to be found in fans interested in different topics and that these characteristics influence the behaviors of those involved in fan behavior (Thorne&Bruner 2006).
Those common characteristics include (Thorne&Bruner 2006):
There are several groups of fans that can be differentiated by the intensity level of their level of involvement or interest in the hobby (level of fanaticism)
The likelihood for a subject of interest to be elevated to the level of fandom appears to be dictated by its complexity. Complexity allows further involvement of fans for a longer period of time because of the time needed to work the subject of interest 'out.' It also contributes to a greater sense of belonging because of the mental effort invested in the subject. This could be why sci-fi is so popular, some fans feel the need to work out all the scientific kinks in these programs. One example for Star Trek is that a group of fans designed blueprints for federation starships.
The difference between a fan and a fanatic is that while both have an overwhelming liking or interest in a given subject, behavior of a fanatic will be viewed as violating prevailing social norms, while that of a fan will not violate those norms (although is usually considered unusual).
The mentality of the sports fan is often such that they will experience a game, or event while living vicariously through players or teams whom the fan favors. This behavior manifests itself in a number of different ways, depending on the venue.
At a stadium or arena, sports fans will voice their pleasure with a particular play, player, or team by cheering, which consists of clapping, fist-pumping, or shouting positive exclamations toward the field of play and ultimately, the favorable object. Likewise, displeasure toward a particular play, player, or team is met by fans with jeers, which consist of booing, the shouting of expletives, and in occasional, extreme cases, the throwing of dense objects onto the field of play in the hopes of injuring a particular participant. This end of fan reaction may often degenerate into hooliganism. It should also be noted that lighter, more harmless objects are also occasionally thrown onto certain fields of play as a form of celebration of a favorable sports feat. This is most common when a member of the home team scores a hat trick in hockey. Other, more mild forms of displeasure shown by sports fans at sporting events involve simple groans of disappointment, and silence. These actions often denote that the favored home team is being outperformed by, or has lost to the much less-favored road team.
At sports bars, sports fans will gather together, often while consuming food and alcoholic beverages, with the purpose of following a particular sporting event on television as a group. Sports bars often advertise in hopes of drawing fans of a particular player or team to watch together to increase bonds between fans and prevent fights. This can create the sense of unity in a sports bar as all cheers and boos will appear to be synchronized due to similar feelings and reactions by nearly all fans at the fortunes and misfortunes of the favored team or athlete. Due to the level of devotion and intensity of feeling towards the favored team or athlete by sports bar patrons, as well as partially due to the alcohol being served, behavior that would be seen as unruly or fanatical outside of a sports bar is generally more common inside of one. The intensity of cheering and jeering at a sports bar by sports fans can often range from equal to stronger than that of fans actually at the sporting event for particularly significant games and matches.
In ones own home, sports fans may have the smallest amount of shared company but also the greatest degree of freedom. This is sometimes where the most intense cheering or jeering will take place among particularly devoted sports fans depending on the company they keep for such an event. In the case of particularly frustrating and disappointing moments in sport for such a fan, many have reported such extreme reactions as punching a hole in the wall of the house. In the fan's own home, unbridled and lengthy screaming, crying, acts of destruction to household objects, and other manifestations of joy or anguish, are perhaps seen as most acceptable in comparison to the sports bar or sporting venue simply because such acts taken to such an extreme can be seen as disruptive to a large number of fellow fans even if they share the same sentiment if it is of less intensity. The greatest variables of the reaction of a sports fan in their own home are the intensity of the fan's desire to see their team win or perform well, and the presence of another: often a wife, children, or friends who may be significantly less ardent sports fans or not sports fans at all, which may significantly temper the fan's reaction to a highly positive or negative moment due to the fear of causing a scene or scaring those close to the fan, or alienating themselves from said others. Often sports fans will invite other fans of relatively similar rooting intensity over to their house to experience a sporting event together so that all involved can voice pleasure or displeasure to their heart's content and increase shared bonds in the process.
A mark can also refer to a devoted fan, either of a particular wrestler, wrestling company, or the sport itself. A mark is also someone who believes everything about a certain wrestling organization is good. This type of mark tends to overlook bad decisions that the organization makes (or to cast said decisions in a positive light) and overreact to the good ones.
The term fangirl can be used to describe a female member of a fandom community (counterpart to the masculine "fanboy"). Fangirls may be more devoted to emotional and romantic aspects of their fandom, especially shipping. However, it is commonly used in a derogatory sense to describe a girl's obsession with something, most commonly a male teen idol or an aspect of Japanese pop culture. Fangirl behavior can vary in intensity. On one end of the scale are those that, while harboring a crush on a particular actor or character, are perfectly capable of understanding that the fulfilment of the crush is never going to happen. On the other end are the girls who are said to be obsessive in their claims on a fictional character, even fighting with other fangirls over who 'owns' the character in question. Fangirl behavior can fall anywhere in this spectrum, but the closer someone is believed to be towards the obsessive end, the more derogatory the use of the term 'fangirl' to describe them is perceived to be. Fangirls of all persuasions are believed to be the largest contributors to fanfiction websites, sometimes disregarding the canon storyline of their fandom or altering it to fit either their own favored romantic pairings; or themselves into the continuity (termed self-insertions or Mary Sues).