I have always been a huge sports fan. Perhaps to an unhealthy degree. My mood is excessively impacted by the actions of a group of strangers who often make millions of dollars and sometimes seem less upset than I am over the outcome for any given game.

For the first half of my life my fandom of Boston sports teams brought exponentially more suffering than joy. In the second half of my life I have been blessed by an abundance born from my team’s success. Ironically and presumably unrelated, this has paralleled my life in general.

Perhaps no athlete has brought me more joy than David Ortiz, aka Big Papi. This week he was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. I was surprised by how much his induction seemed to matter to me. Let’s just say for a few moments after the announcement, it got really dusty in my room.

In his first interview after finding out he had been elected, he talked about all the people who had helped him along the way. He described it as “having a lot of people in my corner… and I was a good listener.” Several times he paused to thank the fans.

When I think about what it means to be a fan – whether sports, music or other forms of celebrity, I think of being invested in the success of someone else, to root for it – almost unconditionally. You look forward to seeing what they do next. Hoping you’ll like it – but being ok if you don’t. Somehow having faith that they’ll “get ‘em next time.”

Beyond liking what they do, you also admire “how they do it.” Character counts more than any statistic.

Fans are not reserved for celebrities alone. Undoubtedly there are others in your life who are invested in your success, who are rooting for you to do well, but will be there anyway if you don’t.

Who are the fans in your corner… and are you listening? Can you hear the cheers?

And conversely, whose corner are you in? Can they hear you? Are you cheering loud enough?

I hope you take a few brief moments out of your day to either “thank your fans” or let someone know that you’re a huge fan of theirs.

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