Links roundup for 30 March 2012

Here’s a roundup of stories on fandom across generations that might be of interest to fans:

  • For many people fandom starts young, whether they are in a fannish family or not. Reporter Josie Loza writes about her 3-year old daughter’s first fannish experience. “She’s watched and listened to the Nickelodeon preschool pop group [Fresh Beat Band] for nearly all her life.” When attending her first concert of the band, “She was paralyzed. She tried to get up and dance. But she was so awestruck she just stared ahead.” Many fans can probably empathize with her reaction when she took part in a meet and greet: “She buried her head in my lap. She started to cry a little; not because she was afraid. To her, these were the people who made her happy when she was sad…“They’re really here,” she mumbled. “Yes, baby. And they want to meet you.””
  • From near-toddler to well-known journalist David Brooks, fandom affects many in the same ways. He writes in The Things We Don’t Choose about his attempt to switch baseball team fandoms and the importance of early fandom: “I’ve read a bunch of social science papers on the nature of sports fandom, trying to understand this attachment. They were arid and completely unhelpful. They tried to connect fandom to abstractions about identity formation, self-esteem affiliation and collective classifications. It’s probably more accurate to say that team loyalty of this sort begins with youthful enchantment…You lunged upon the team with the unreserved love that children are capable of. The team became crystallized in your mind, coated with shimmering emotional crystals that give it a sparkling beauty and vividness. And forever after you feel its attraction. Whether it’s off the menu or in the sports world, you can choose what you’ll purchase but you don’t get to choose what you like.”
  • Yet another journalist documented his joint fandom with his son focusing on the generational differences that revolve around media formats and levels of participation with the games: “I watch the Patriots on television with the remote in one hand and maybe a bag of chips in the other. He views them with his Droid and his laptop at his side. While I flip through the channels during commercials, he texts and Facebook chats with friends and checks to find out if Cam Newton scored a rushing touchdown to help one of his three fantasy football teams.” He continues, “My son also rarely misses a Red Sox, Celtics or Bruins game on TV, but he couldn’t name any of the team’s radio announcers when I asked him to do so. That’s because many fans his age don’t listen to the radio very often.” Their use of print is also different. “For years, I subscribed to Sports Illustrated and read it cover to cover, except for the swimsuit edition, of course. My son subscribes to ESPN the Magazine, but hardly ever reads it. He ordered it so he could become an ESPN Insider on and read the latest sports news online. My son estimated he spends four hours most days surfing the web for sports news.”

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