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  • A Fan Too Far

    by Mike Coffey

    When you operate a sports fansite, you’re exposed to people in all walks of life and at all levels of fandom. The vast majority are ordinary folks who love the same team you do, and your encounters and exchanges with them can be very rewarding.

    But there’s a reason the word “fan” is borne of the word “fanatic”. Every now and again you brush up against the outer fringe of the spectrum, and those encounters aren’t nearly as rewarding. In fact, they can be downright unsettling.

    I was reminded of some of those encounters the other day on the train, when I read this article about Alabama fan Bobby Livingston, a worker on the construction crew making the upgrades to Kyle Field at Texas A&M University, who was fired for the ways in which he was expressing his fandom at work.

    Some of the episodes were innocent, such as flying the Crimson Tide flag at the worksite. But others, hinted at on his social media accounts, potentially were much less so. He claimed he was “wrong-holing everying” in an effort to slow the project down, and bragged about “questionable welds” while (hopefully) joking that fans who sit in that area should be careful.

    Obviously I have no way of knowing whether or not this guy actually did those things. One hopes it was simply braggadocio from one Tide fan to others and this guy wouldn’t put the lives of Texas A&M fans at risk, and a logical-person test probably would lead you to that conclusion.

    But it’s not a definitive conclusion, and that’s what I find scary.

    Yes, he’s probably full of hot air. But a part of my brain remembers counters with the fanatic fringe on the ND side, and that part isn’t so sure. Some folks wrap all too much of themselves and their self-worth in the outcomes on the gridiron and hardwood (not to mention their participation on websites), and it’s not too difficult to see someone like that take things on a job site a little too far.

    At the very least, this guy’s love for Alabama (or at the very least his inability to express it correctly) cost him a (probably good-paying) gig. I always said if NDNation started causing problems in my real life, I’d walk away from it in a New York minute. I wonder what Mr. Livingston will choose to do?

    7 Responses to “A Fan Too Far”

    1. Geoffrey '73 says:

      Every healthy sporting team depends on healthy rivalries in order to thrive. Rivalries are not the same as enmities.
      If all of a college football team’s opponents are enemies and none of them are rivals, they will surely suffer.
      As a fan, I value Stanford and Navy as opponents. I would value Purdue and Northwestern, if they were on the schedule.
      Livingstone’s attitude does nothing for the enjoyment of sport.

    2. atlantadomer says:

      I read your piece, and I truly question your commitment.

      Roll Tide,
      Harvey Updyke

    3. NASA4ND says:

      Toomer’s Corner and Spike 80DF… You Stay Classy Tuscaloosa!

    4. Clarinet says:

      A Notre Dame supporter since 1944, I can list a number of universities whose football teams stimulate my willingness to despise the “enemy.” But when I meet their supporters, I am always happy to shake their hands in the fellowship of fandom. Nor do I resent their despising ND’s teams. Fair’s fair. I suspect that it is the devoted supporters–not the self-identifiers–whom I’d like to have on my side in any strenuous endeavor.

    5. atlantadomer says:

      Hilariously after reading this and posting my satirical channeling of the man who named his children literally “Bear Bryant Updyke” and “Allie Bama Updyke”, I read an article about how FORMER LSU QB Zach Mettenberger was sucker punched in a Nashville bar by a fan who yelled “Roll Tide” before throwing the punch and hitting him in the face. Apparently “because LSU” is enough of a reason to do this.

    6. Boomer80 says:

      So many losers out there consider “their team” to be an extension of themselves, often to an unhealthy extent. They seem to think that it makes them superior to you when their team beats yours. They are often a supreme embarassment to their favored teams.

    7. Am I the only one not excited about Rice and field turf? Hate to be Debbie Downer, but it’s been 21 years since ND was truly relevant. Could care less if they played on dirt with buildings made of toothpicks, just want to be really good again. Besides a few 1 year wonders, the road appears very long.