The Pain of Being a Superfan

David Marsh Editorials

This last loss has hurt more than any other loss I can recall, and when I came to write this article I reflected on a video from It’s OK to be Smart entitled The Strange Psychology of Superfans. I highly suggest that everyone watches it, because it is telling in just what makes us tick.

During the video they go through a little quiz about the importance of identity and connection fans have to a team. The question that stood out to me the most was, “How important is it that your team wins?” My only response was the highest rating of five, and if I could go higher I would.

Oregon winning brings an incredible emotional high, but the Ducks losing — and more importantly, losing big games against rivals — is emotionally crushing.

This last Oregon game was hard to watch because the Ducks didn’t play anywhere near their potential. The team we all saw throughout November that takes care of business and disposes of opponents was simply not the team that played on Friday night. The offense was nowhere near as efficient as it was throughout the season and Bo Nix didn’t look like the Heisman contender we all believed him to be; he made some incredible plays but the final result wasn’t there.

As for the defense, it was soft and at times looked more akin to last year’s defense than this year’s. Yes, there have been some injuries on the defensive side of the ball which have hurt its production, but there still should have been enough talent to get the job done. That didn’t happen.

I am not a fan who is going to blame the team for letting me down. I haven’t played a snap of football in my life outside of flag football in PE or touch football with friends, so I don’t truly understand the pressure those kids were feeling before and during the conference championship game. However, I still feel the pain of losing, and it has frankly ruined what should have been a good weekend  regardless of the football outcome.

We are all bound together for our love of the Duck.
(Photo By Eugene Johnson)

My daughter is just over a year and a half old and we took her to the zoo for zoo lights this weekend. She had a ton of fun running around and touching all the lights she could reach. We rode the train for the first time at the zoo. She was super excited and the joy on her face was intoxicating. Though after we finished and we loaded her up into the car and were heading home, I still found myself upset about the Ducks’ last loss.

At this time I have cut myself off from all things football in order to avoid the pain of what is feeling like a lost season. The truth is that it’s not a lost season, the Ducks currently have 11 wins and are slated to go to the Fiesta Bowl. In past years this would have felt like a major success, but the problem is that the playoff has ruined bowl season. Anything less than a playoff berth feels uninteresting.

This experience currently has me questioning whether my fandom is worth it, because a win or a loss shouldn’t define my life this way. However, the reality for many of us is we spend every day of our lives, or almost every day, thinking about Our Beloved Ducks and we can’t help it. It is how we are wired and we have found community and identity through this team.

The pain will fade and the prospect of a new season usually fills all of us with hope of what might be. That is why we all love this sport and this team. If we didn’t love this team as much as we do, the pain of losses wouldn’t hurt like this, and that is the price we have to pay for our superfandom.

Go Ducks!

David Marsh
Portland, Oregon
Top Photo By Craig Strobeck

New 2024 FishDuck Publishing Schedule….

During the off-season the publishing schedule will consist of articles on Mondays and Tuesdays. Do keep checking as new articles could be published during the week when a writer has something to say.

In mid-August of 2024, we will go back to the seven-days-a-week of articles during the football season as we did in the football season of 2023.

The Our Beloved Ducks Forum (OBD) is where we we discuss the article above and many more topics, as it is so much easier in a message board format over there.  At the free OBD forum we will be posting Oregon Sports article links, the daily Press Releases from the Athletic Department and the news coming out every day.

Our 33 rules at the free OBD Forum can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) do not tell anyone what to think, feel or write, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!

OBD Forum members….we got your back.  No Trolls Allowed!