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Against Fandom


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Thus, after the Patriots win the Super Bowl, Simmons writes, “I just kept thinking to myself, ‘This is my team! This is my team!’” This imaginative leap is part of the quest to find meaning and connection in sport. Ultimately, what Simmons seeks is “a giant group hug, like when Andy and Red greet each other at the end of Shawshank, but multiplied by 10 million people. Does that make sense? And that’s the lure: The giant group hug.” One of Simmons’s readers, cited in the book, echoes this desire: “To me, the opportunity to achieve that feeling of solidarity with my fellow fans, the chance to celebrate wildly, totally, and unabashedly, to feel an intimate connection, a shared sense of accomplishment with millions of strangers IS important.”

While this essay is in relation to pro sports, I think it can also apply to drum corps fandom as well. 
 

https://blog.lareviewofbooks.org/essays/fandom/

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4 hours ago, kevingamin said:

While this essay is in relation to pro sports, I think it can also apply to drum corps fandom as well. 
 

https://blog.lareviewofbooks.org/essays/fandom/

Certainly the description of the 'fan experience' in this article is accurate. For the fan, it is as if I myself have marched the show and been crowned champion, or made finals, or beaten this other corps, etc. Even if the 'winner' wins by 0.025, for example, it's still a 'win.' One group (or group of fans) is happy, and the others are not. It is kind of absurd that someone's subjective opinion of a performance determines my emotional reaction, but it's what happens, and only later, and then only for some, can rationality set in.

I can also see that the 'system' of drum corps competition can take a toll on performers, as it does in amateur and professional sports. People's bodies have been pushed often beyond endurance by the demands of modern drum corps staging and drill. Mental abuse in drum corps was more common in the past, but still happens. And as we know, reports of sexual abuse have been quashed for years for fear of damaging drum corps or a corps brand. 

However, the article views fandom, and the performer's response to fan support, solely through the lens of a Marxist theory of capital's exploitation of labor. People go into, and stay in, competitive activities for all sorts of reasons - to prove themselves, for the experience of 'esprit de corps,' to hone expertise in their craft, as an extension of their education, etc. And people support organizations such as drum corps for a variety of reasons as well. 

It seems that competition, and 'fandom,' can be experienced in many different ways. It is healthier when people are fans of the activity first and a certain corps second. I can appreciate the performances of each corps and not be as invested in my particular group's success and others' failure. I think that by and large this sort of support of the whole activity is more common in this era of drum corps, but I could be proven wrong. 

 

Edited by mfrontz
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From my experience since starting in drum corps in the fall of 1963, and reading all sorts of public interactions on Facebook, DCP, the old RAMD, Soundmachine and others, there was a lot more corps-specific "live and die" from members and fans in the past than today. Just read forums that cover drum corps of the 60's and 70's as compared to forums discussing more modern drum corps. There seems to be a lot more activity-fan-first, specific-corps-fan-second today than the past, which is, IMO a great thing. Sure, people have their favorites today, but there seems to be more positivity towards all corps than in the distant past when drum corps was a more local activity.

As for the article, I read the article, and I am not a supporter of the author's general "capitalism is the root of all evil today" he is painting.  

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On 3/24/2021 at 5:42 PM, MikeD said:

From my experience since starting in drum corps in the fall of 1963, and reading all sorts of public interactions on Facebook, DCP, the old RAMD, Soundmachine and others, there was a lot more corps-specific "live and die" from members and fans in the past than today. Just read forums that cover drum corps of the 60's and 70's as compared to forums discussing more modern drum corps. There seems to be a lot more activity-fan-first, specific-corps-fan-second today than the past, which is, IMO a great thing. Sure, people have their favorites today, but there seems to be more positivity towards all corps than in the distant past when drum corps was a more local activity.

As for the article, I read the article, and I am not a supporter of the author's general "capitalism is the root of all evil today" he is painting.  

Personally, I have found myself moving towards an “activity fan first” mentality in general, not just in drum corps. More and more, I am witnessing the toxic fandom which seems to focus on team first, which tends to incorporate a lot of bashing everybody else, over hyped rivalries, and bashing of opinions which don’t come from white men.

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On 3/28/2021 at 3:00 PM, kevingamin said:

Personally, I have found myself moving towards an “activity fan first” mentality in general, not just in drum corps. More and more, I am witnessing the toxic fandom which seems to focus on team first, which tends to incorporate a lot of bashing everybody else, over hyped rivalries, and bashing of opinions which don’t come from white men.

Yes.  This.  

It took an 8th grade student of mine getting a terrible head injury in a football practice to snap me out my team-first mentality (this was about 10 years ago, now).  These are kids performing on the field... and even in professional sports, those athletes are people.  And competing against someone else in a job... rejoice not when your enemy falls.  

My experience in The Cadets moved me toward really understanding what the benefits of competition really are (about competing against yourself and not others), but the fandom thing was harder to see.  

And I think this paradigm applies to all races, all walks of life, all economic situations.  

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