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http://www.washingtonpost.com/2010/07/06/ABMK8PP_linkset.html
The Early Lead
Posted at 04:36 PM ET, 10/24/2011

D.C. Sports fans: Post readers discuss local fan culture


What makes a D.C. sports fan? (Toni L. Sandys - The Post)
This weekend we rolled out a new project aiming to analyze the sports fan culture of the D.C., Maryland, Northern Virginia landscape and to try to find the biggest megafans in the area.

We asked you to help us figure out what makes a good sports fan and asked for your opinions on what makes D.C. sports fans unique. Many of you shared your passions in the local sports arena. Others tackled the theories surrounded D.C.’s oft-noted transient population.

Are you D.C.’s greatest sports fan? Prove it by entering our contest!

Here are some of your comments from Dan Steinberg’s front-page story on Washington’s sports identity.

On D.C.’s transient population....

"The point of this article is lost in a sea of wrong assumptions about the transient nature of the DC population. There have been studies performed that show that DC's population is no more transient than average. There is an incredibly small minority that comes and goes with the changing administrations. It's not as though the innumerable pages and speech writers just disappear with the defeat of their bosses. They get hired by the next round. The true reason that lately the Redskins and Orioles have seen their stadiums packed with opposition fans is because of this statement from the middle of this article: "Washington’s pro teams have mostly been a wasteland of ruined seasons and unmet expectations for two decades, since the Redskins won the third of their three Super Bowls." There's no greater impact on a sports team's fan base than on how well they perform over time. Add to that the still-new Nationals baseball team and you have a recipe for indifference. The true overall reason: transience, no, lack of success, yes." — crzytwnman

>>> "I definitely disagree with this analysis. True, the numbers of people that change out because of elections may be relatively small, but the numbers of people drawn to the greater D.C. area for every other reason that we associate with government (lobbying, businesses catering to government, visitors in town for something related to government, etc) is huge and is the source of many of the "out-of-towners" at local pro games. Same is true for college teams. Try going to a BB game at Kansas against anyone from the East Coast and see how many visiting fans are there. Do the same at Comcast center and you will see lots of opposing fans, most of whom are locals who moved to this area for work associated in some fashion with government. I have asked some of these fans at such games, and often hear that they came to this area from (fill in the blank) for work, and continue to support their old teams. No other city has a draw like this from all over the country" — Pearl77

>>>> "You are wrong Pearl. If we could have one or two Championship years with the Redskins, Wizards, and Nationals you would see how off base your comments are. people want to cheer for a winner, there have been 20 years of losing. That is why you see the mix of fans, period. There are thousands upon thousands of of multi-generation Northern Virginia fans that cheer the Redskins for example." — DownTownClown

On holding onto hometown allegiances vs. embracing new teams when you move...

"I completely disagree with the concept of not embracing the sports team in your new town or city if you move there. Sports is about community. Switching allegiances in sports goes hand-in-hand with embracing and loving your new locale. If one doesn't love their new locale, they shouldn't have moved there." — mrastute1958

>>>> "It doesn't work that way. You can't control your allegiances. I am convinced its part of your inner reptilian brain, not your human conscious brain. You develop your sports allegiances as a child, and they don't go away easily. I have life long allegiances to Pittsburgh sports teams. I have been trying to divorce myself from the baseball team, but when that team went on a minor win streak earlier this year, I found myself checking the paper every day to see how they were doing." — niceshoes1

>>>> "What? That's ridiculous. Sports isn't about community. It's about loyalty to your team. Allegiances are formed very early in life. It takes a history of losing like the Redskins to actually quit your allegiance. I think many fans that supported the Redskins during the RFK days are dropping like flies now. The new generation of fans who were born in the late 80's know nothing about the winning ways of the Redskins and are probably fans of other teams." — shalshah

What kind of fan are you? Take our quiz to find out.

On fairweather fans...

"The article only touched on this point briefly, but it's fleshed out more in the comments below: DC teams simply don't do well enough often enough to maintain the fandom seen in other cities. Were the Caps to decisively win the Stanley Cup for a couple of years or if the Nats could at least make it to the playoffs once every few years, the tide would turn. Meanwhile, I think the Redskins benefit from some form of "battered fan syndrome"--you can include me in those ranks." — signof4

"Hate to say it but I've found DC fans mostly fair-weather......they're loyal as long as a franchise puts out a winning product (ie: Caps w/ Ovechkin, Redskins during Gibbs' era). It's embarrassing to see the empty stands at Nats Park (along w/ Camden Yards up the road) except when Strasberg's on the mound. Wiz games only mattered when MJ was in uniform. Does DC United count? RFK has tremendous memories but is a rat-hole. Granted, local fans got so spoiled by the likes of Gibbs, John Thompson and Gary Williams, too bad their off-spring developed short-term memory loss....  Other than the Caps, what's there to cheer about in DC?"
— iamasofaking

On the ongoing drought of success across the four major sports...

I was born in 1992 and haven't been alive for a single championship victory for a local professional sports team that I care about. From my experience, allegiance to sports teams comes from one's family. I was raised to be a Redskins fan and I will die a Redskins fan. The passion I have for the Redskins is most likely bad for my health. I have been accustomed to mediocrity and embarrassment. To me, Super Bowl titles seem to be reserved for any other team that isn't the Redskins. I can't even imagine what it would be like to witness a Redskins Super Bowl victory because that dream has been so out of reach for the entirety of my dedication to this team. However, I will NEVER stop being a true fan of the Redskins and will ALWAYS bleed burgundy and gold.  As for the Caps, Nats, and Wiz, my dedication comes and goes with their success. This is probably because my parents didn't raise me to have anywhere near as much allegiance to these teams when compared to the Redskins. I will always consider myself as a fan of these teams, but the amount of time I spend following them and watching their games will probably waver over the years.” — tbwinfieldjr

More D.C. sports fan content from The Washington Post:

Poll: See which sports teams have the strongest supporters and how D.C. sports fans get their information

Tracee Hamilton: D.C. sports fans possess a curious mix of optimism, pessimism

Photo gallery: The agony and ecstasy of D.C. fans

Photo gallery: D.C. celebrities & D.C. sports

User photos: Local fans show off their team spirit (Share your photos)

By  |  04:36 PM ET, 10/24/2011

 
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