I hardly ever identify the main character in my columns although it takes little imagination to figure out in this one just who is the suspect.  This column is no exception, likewise nameless is the subject.
There are some supporters whose allegiance to a sports team or a school would be classified as moderate or at least lukewarm; some would be characterized as indifferent and then there are the most remarkable ones of all, the diehards, the fanatics (The word ‘fan’ comes  from the word fanatic.), those who live and die with the success or failure of their favorite sports team.  Agony for these victory-every-time addicts is their having to watch their team, for instance the Tigers we’ll say, crash in a critical game before millions of viewers thereby ruining the rest of the day, weekend, week or even an entire year depending (perhaps a life) because of the intenseness of the rivalry. It’s one thing to be loyal supporters; it’s quite another for  this loyalty to be diagnosed as an untreatable mental illness condition.  Just kidding.
There are logical reasons for supporters to swear by their teams.  Perhaps it was their old alma mater and if not, perhaps it is the school whose diploma hangs on the wall of a grandchild or some other relative or maybe a neighbor or church member.  It could be that one of the locals, maybe a classmate made a name for himself at that institution as a coach or AD and by association the fan can more closely identify with the school.  Maybe there is no logical reason for this connection except you just like the school colors, the mascot, the coach or the school’s fight song.  There does not have to be any rational explanation for the love affair to exist after all it  can become an illness. 
And how does this I LOVE THE TIGERS, at times out-of-control faithfulness work?  Well it is not hard to make the connection of the fan with the school.  If you visit one of these hyper-dedicated fans, you’ll know that it exists immediately.  Drive up in the yard and see that there are reminders of the school all over the place.  Note for instance the tiger paw stepping stones leading to the back door where the near life sized tiger is crouched to ‘welcome’ any visitor especially those chicken lovers.  Check out the flag hoisted for game day, see the creative applications of the color orange on the chicken house door,  the orange painted pump house, the orange four wheeler with the tiger paw decals on the windshield, the tiger themed throw on the couch is ready to devour any careless ‘enemy’ visitor, the framed pictures of the stadium, posters of famous players, a lamp made from a football helmet and who knows what tiger related items are
in other parts of the house including, the cover on the personal convenience in the bathroom with the tiger paw, a reminder that the dedication to the team knows no boundaries.
Videos anyone?  Want to see my video THE BEST FIFTY YEARS OF TIGER FOOTBALL plus HOW TO ENJOY CHICKEN ON A FALL SATURDAY AFTERNOON IN DEATH VALLEY?  Want to hear my one hour version of THE TIGER RAG? 
Now I just randomly chose the TIGERS for this column, but I just as easily could have chosen another mascot, for instance a chicken although not as fierce or as heroic as a tiger.  This reminds me of the comment made to a Tiger fan by the PETA member who asked if the tiger fan liked animals to which he answered, “I sure do.  Chicken is my favorite, and I like it fried.”
Bill Lee
PO Box 128
Hamer, SC 29547

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