Die-hard-ism: Being such a hardcore fan of something that a huge chunk of your identify is defined by how much you profess your love for it. Die-hard-ism manifests itself in different ways for different people. There are some who are die-hard hobbyists, others who devote themselves wholeheartedly to Dungeons & Dragons, or knitting, or Brazilian jiu-jitsu—whatever it may be, their minds are constantly preoccupied with that hobby.
Now, while the demographic of people who are tenacious crochet enthusiasts is undoubtedly quite tiny, there's one group of "die-hards" we've probably all encountered at some point in our lives, and that's the die-hard sports fan.
The die-hard sports fan has an undeniable dedication to their team and sticks by them through thick and thin. They know the starting lineup by heart, the bench players, the teams each individual player was a part of before. They know the different plays each team likes to employ, the different strategies used against opposing teams. They know the coaching staff, assistant coaches, prospective trades, the blood types of players, where their kids go to school, etc.
Sometimes, it gets borderline creepy. Like Robert DeNiro from The Fan levels of take-it-down-a-notch.
Barring any creepy stalker-ish behavior, the enthusiasm of some fans is something to be admired in some cases.
1. Like this Turkish man who was so devoted to his team he came up with a creative solution to being banned from the stadium for 12 months. He rented a crane.
Look at that wave, you know he's soaking up the praise from his adoring public.
He became an instant legend, and rightfully so.
He didn't let anything get between him and watching his team play live.
He arguably had the best seat in the house. And if you believe in luck and that sort of thing, I mean, his antics might could be attributed to helping his team win 5-0.
Winning teams aren't the only ones who get unconventional love from their fans, however. Just ask Cleveland Browns fans.
2. In 2017, the Browns managed to have a "perfect" record. And by "perfect," I mean a perfect losing record. To lament the fact that their team went 0-16, Browns fans decided to throw a mourning parade complete with tombstones, beer, and an "at least it can't get worse" attitude.
There were motorcades and marches. Men in briefs waving the old star spangled banner. T-Rex costumes. Giant inflatable swans. Tons of beer.
And self-deprecation, lots and lots of self-deprecation.
Some Browns fans and players were insulted by the 0-16 parade.
And even though they might be mad that these fans were pointing out the fact that they didn't win a single game in an entire season, you can't say that they aren't dedicated.
They're all decked out in official Browns gear, and still managed to have a good time despite the fact that their team was the biggest loser in the NFL that year. If the players want that to change, then they just need to start winning some games, I guess. It's humiliating, but it doesn't seem like the fans are mad, and anyone who goes through such great lengths to show out for a losing team is probably going to come back and cheer them on next season.
3. Some fans take their love of superstar players a little too far, and when it comes to superstars, it doesn't get much bigger than Cristiano Ronaldo. The footballer found himself stormed by fans on the field who ran out to plant a smooch on his face, while another snapped a selfie with the Portuguese phenom.
Ronaldo didn't look too happy, and it's hard to blame him. The man has a ridiculous work ethic and his training regimen is challenging for even the world's top athletes to endure—all so he can be on the top of his game. Must be annoying when you're just trying to be the best athlete you can be and a bunch of people storm the field to get some of your star power in person.
4. People who storm the field aren't always there to just snap a picture. Like this amazing Russian superfan who couldn't wait for a penalty kick to take place. So he decided to score on the goal himself.
5. When it comes to going to extreme lengths, soccer fans seem to have the market cornered. At the Polish cup, somehow a bunch of spectators smuggled in hundreds of flares that they lit up and threw on the field, creating a scary, dark, black cloud of smoke.
6. It's a pretty well-known fact that Matthew McConaughey is a Texas A&M alum and an avid Longhorns fan. So the fact that he delivered this inspirational pump-up speech to the team before a game, one that looks like it's straight out of a movie, is just too, too perfect.
7. Then there was this guy who loved his Flamengo soccer club so much that owning a jersey just wasn't enough—he had to tattoo it on his skin.
8. Speaking of bad fan tattoos, there was this Patriots superfan who inked up his entire dome to pay homage to the Brady-Belichick dynasty.
9. Some fans are so devoted to their team that they're willing to make some serious sacrifices in order to ensure their victory. For Sudhakar, a die-hard cricket fan, he sacrificed he decided that a physical sacrifice at a nearby Hindu temple would help his country's national team overcome the crazy deficit they suffered at the hands of Australia.
That sacrifice? His tongue.
The young man caused permanent damage to his tongue and he'll require years of therapy in order to speak again. Also, as it turns out, his sacrifice was in vain: India ended up losing to Australia and were kicked out of the World Cup.
10. Sometimes, super fans aren't just violent towards themselves, but the objects of their desire. Which was the case with Ruth Steinhagen.
The insurance company typist was obsessed with baseball player Eddie Watkus. When the first baseman was traded from the Cubs to the Phillies, Ruth couldn't forgive him. So she hatched a plan: lure him to her hotel room and then shoot him in the chest with a rifle.
She followed through with it, but she didn't count on Watkus surviving the encounter. She was committed to a mental institution and died in 2013.
11. This list took a dark turn, but here's a friendly reminder that fans usually channel their enthusiasm into more lighthearted projects that don't involve planned assassination attempts - like Don Martini's amazing woodwork replica of Giants stadium.
Now that's dedication - the kind that doesn't make you want to immediately call the police, either.
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