The line between fandom and fanaticism is rather thin. It’s one thing to put on some face paint and cheer on your favorite football team. It’s quite another to invest in expensive Mascot Costumes for yourself and your best buds to wear to every home game of the season. However, even the latter might fall on the “fan” side of the line, depending on how much of the wearer’s life is affected by their love of the team.
Fans tend to support and follow teams, athletes, actors, musicians, and other celebrities either from loyalty, appreciation of talent, or a sense of connection with the individual. There are plenty of horror stories of those who take things too far, from John Lennon’s killer to David Letterman’s stalker. There are also countless unreported incidents where a fanatic becomes so obsessed with connecting with the object of their obsession that they cease to be an individual and become, instead, a sad copy of their idol.
Luckily, even the most enthusiastic of football fans are simply sports fans . They may invest heavily in costumes, jerseys, season tickets, and tailgate party supplies, but their interest lasts only as long as a season, and rarely interferes with their ability to conduct their regular day-to-day lives.