Ride the emotional roller coaster of an NRL fan

I’m a very proud and very passionate rugby league supporter. That might be the understatement of the century to those who know me.

Whenever I ask a friend or family member if they’d like to watch the footy with me on the weekend, I can see the reservation in their eyes before they reluctantly agree to avoid hurting my feelings, because they’re aware of my emotions being on full display while I’m watching my team play.

I’m excited when I wake up on game day. I get nervous just before kick-off. I hyperventilate when the opposition makes an early line-break and I’ll clap loudly and yell, “Get that in ya!” when one of my players puts on a bit hit.

When my team scores, I’ll fist-pump the air and loudly express my unconditional love for the try-scorer. When the opposition scores, I’ll scream and demand the player who missed the tackle be dropped for next weeks game.

I often wonder what my neighbours think of the commotion when I’m watching my team play on tele. It probably explains why they won’t talk to me.

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I also wondered if I was the only supporter of my kind, but as I’ve discovered, many rugby league supporters are as passionate as I am.

And what do passionate fans do on game day and after our team wins or loses? We post about it on social media of course!

Most NRL clubs have Facebook supporters’ groups for fans to post their opinions and discuss any topic relating to their team. During a game, these groups are a haven for fans to celebrate when their team is winning and rant when their team is losing.

The most noticeable commonality with fans is when their team wins, they will jump on social media to share their ‘yay team’ posts, express how proud they are, and everyone is generally on the same page.

What isn’t so common between fans is how they react when their team loses and this is where you see how much a team’s performance means to them.

Fans ride the same emotional roller coaster as the players and coaches.

When our team scores, we celebrate just as the players and coaches celebrate.

When the opposition scores, the players are immediately feeling deflated and fans look to the heavens to ask the footy gods why they hate their team.

At the time of writing this piece, I had just watched my team get flogged. Their performance left me feeling disheartened, so naturally, I jump on social media to my team’s supporter page to see how other fans have reacted, and I now realise just how much a team’s performance means to their fans.

Some fans are furious, calling for players to be dropped, criticising the coach, giving their opinions on what went wrong and what the team needs to do to improve.

Then you have other fans who will criticise the fans who are criticising the team, and that’s when the arguments start.

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It may sound strange, but as long as the line of abuse isn’t crossed, that’s what I love to see, because it shows how passionate fans are and how much fans genuinely care about their team’s performance.

Their opinions and comments are based purely off emotion, but no matter what, those supporters will be cheering on their team next week.

You don’t need to feel the same way or share the same opinions as other supporters of your team to show your passion and speak out however you see fit, as long as it’s within your social media platform’s community guidelines.

I’m fortunate because my team has experienced some success over the past decade. I couldn’t imagine the trauma experienced by fans of teams who haven’t had any success for a long time, maybe even for decades.

When it comes to your emotions while watching your team play, ‘better out than in’, I always say.

Featured Image: Courtesy of reepy_au