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No More Labels On Boston Sports Fans

Living in the Boston area, I feel lucky to be a sports fan here. Read how I feel we should not be using labels to describe fans.

Fans of Boston sports right now are pretty lucky to have the type of teams we have in this area to follow. There is a real passion to being of fan of Boston sports. However, over the past several years I have noticed certain fans being labeled negatively for their perceived level of commitment to the teams. We are all fans, and we should all be embraced. Their should be no more labels on Boston sports fans.

Many fans since the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 have been labeled as "Pink Hats." This term negatively describes fans that are thought of as jumping on the bandwagon, and are not true fans. 

The Red Sox started marketing "pink hats," and other pink sportswear around the 2004 season. It is pretty obvious that the gear was targeted to women. I actually thought it was nice to see the color, and that many female fans were wearing it. It made me think well of Red Sox management for giving these sports fans something that was their own. I didn't have a problem with the hat at all.

Unfortunately, over the last several years the term "pink hat" came about to describe a fan that just wants to look fashionable, and is supposedly not a real fan. I really don't like this term at all, and do find it offensive to the fans that are called it.  

In this article from the Boston Globe in 2008, writer Kate M. Jackson discusses the Pink Hat controversy through the eyes of Anne Houseman. Here is an excerpt from the Globe article below in which Jackson discusses how the pink hat is portrayed.

Next to Yankees caps and Giants jerseys, the pink Red Sox cap has become the most polarizing piece of clothing a Bostonian can wear. Fans of the hats think they're simply a cute way to show their love for the Sox. Haters say pink-hat owners are latecomers who only support the Sox because it's suddenly cool - even fashionable - to do so. Pink-hat wearers haven't suffered sufficiently, they reason. No one suffers in pink.

This term is used often by Boston sports media members, and the majority of them find it harmless, and just a way to describe a certain type of fan. I called into a sports radio show recently to discuss the topic. I let them know that some fans do not like the term pink hats. I was then yelled at for 5 minutes, and lectured to their point, that it is a term to describe a bandwagon fan.

These sports media members are not getting the point. Why are we labeling fans at all? I am no different than anyone else who is a fan of a team I support. I am not a special fan. We are all fans of the Boston sports, and no fan should be singled out.

We should also be encouraging more people to become fans of our sports teams. On twitter that is exactly what I do. If a follower wants to know more about Boston sports, I will do anything I can to increase their enjoyment of these teams. 

We shouldn't be excluding fans, or pointing out what type of fan they are.We are all lucky to live here in the Boston area, and experience the sports teams on a daily basis. Why can't someone from anywhere just be a fan of our teams without labeling them?

I have twitter followers of Boston sports as far away as the UK and Australia. Should they be labeled or excluded because they don't live here? The answer to that question is absolutely not!

Some fans want to label others, because they think they are somehow better. I hate to break the bad news to them but they are not. 

In the past I have called myself a die-hard Boston sports fan. I certainly will not do that anymore. I was wrong to single myself out as somehow special. 

Maybe you think I am making a big deal out of nothing. I don't think so. I have heard the way fans have used the term pink hats, and it has been used very negatively to describe supposedly a certain fan.

It is time to stop using labels to describe Boston sports fans, and instead feel fortunate that we have the ability to be a fan of such great teams.

You can follow me on twitter at Russ_Goldman .

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Mike Patton July 05, 2011 at 02:15 AM
Until reading this blog, I had never heard of the term "pink hat". I personally feel that the term does apply for fairweather fans of a team, however, when the term is being used in regards to hardcore fans or fans that are learning about the game or the team, that's when the term is being taken too far. In sports, there are always going to be term that are used that we don't like. Its unfortunate, but its true. I was called a fairweather fan when the Bulls were winning championships in the 90's. But for the record, I have been a fan of them ever since 1987 and was there before the championships, when Brad Sellers was one of the Bulls supposedly promising players. I brushed that title off and just kept it moving. People that hate or talk about another team that they don't like will always have something to say. Also, the media will always be in the middle of it, stirring the pot or insinuating things that aren't exactly the truth because its there job to stir the pot, well most of them's jobs anyway. i feel they should tell things like they are, but unfortunately, that isn't true all the time. Good article. Mike P. The Everyday Man's Sports Blog http;//theeverydaymanssportsblog.wordpress.com
FormerNortonRes July 05, 2011 at 01:21 PM
Why not label fans? There are hardcore diehards and there are bandwagon idiots. I actually have no problem with bandwagon fans who want to learn more about the team/game and make a concerted effort. But that doesn't happen. Instead it becomes fashionable and hip to go to Fenway. That means I have to listen to sorority girls talking about anything but baseball and cooing about how hot Jacoby Ellsbury is. Thankfully they're gone by the 7th inning but for two hours I'm in Pink Hat Hell. Nevermind the yuppies who are on their cell phones the whole game or the countless other post-2004 morons who overloaded the bandwagon and have no idea about the history of the team (or most of the current team for that matter).
Todd Arnold July 05, 2011 at 08:13 PM
Sorry..a "Pink Hat" is a Pink Hat not to be confused with someone wearing pink to support Cancer cause. Yes..a “Pink Hat” is also known as the female version of the male “Band Wagoneer,” one who supports the team when things are going well, and can’t be found when the team isn’t doing well. A “Pink Hat” doesn’t just apply to baseball fans, it’s applicable to all the major sports. Walk up to a Pink Hat and ask them why they like the team, or why they are wearing a particular players jersey, the usual response is; “Oh..I think Tom Brady is HOT,” or “I think Tyler Seguin is HOT,” or “I think Youk is HOT,” or “I think Rondo is HOT.” Ask them about the fundamentals of the game they follow, they can’t tell you a lick about it. You sit next to them during a game and they just don’t shut up talking pure inane banter during the entire game with the exception of when their player makes an appearance and you hear how “HOT” they are. They are there to make a “Fashion Statement” and that doesn’t necessarily mean an apparel statement. They are there just so they can go to work, go to school the next day and say ”I went to the Game” last night. Ask them who won, well, who knows? They might have read the scoreboard on the way out, if they could find it that is. (Cont.)
Todd Arnold July 05, 2011 at 08:15 PM
With that being said, No one is questioning their loyalty to the team. No ones questioning if they are supporters of their team or not. However, to give “Pink Hats” the same status of a “Die Hard” follower, sorry, not happening. Keep in mind “Fan” is the abbreviated version for “Fanatic!!” I’m a 31year season ticket holder for the Patriots. I’ve been to 367 consecutive Patriots home games. (knock on wood) I’m not saying I’m a Bigger” fan than anyone else. However, as part of the New England Patriots “Family of supporters” I can joke around and call them “Pink Hats” but, if an outsider from another team gives them grief, I’ll be the first one to come to their defense and support them because they are still part of “The Boston sports Family” so to speak. Ya, as soon as the attacker walks away, I’ll knock them down into the part of the pecking order they belong. “Pink Hats” is all fun and games within the family of Sports enthusiast here in Boston, Don’t take it so seriously and leave well enough alone!!! LOL
Bill Gouveia July 05, 2011 at 08:32 PM
You got it Todd! Love how you put it! And that's from a Pats season ticket holder of about 39 years now!
Russell Goldman July 05, 2011 at 08:42 PM
I appreciate all comments on this issue. I know their are fans that disagree with me. Please feel free to make your voice heard. I have been a Patriots fan for 35 years and I think the more the merrier. I am constantly answering questions from new fans. I guess you can say I am trying to increase our fans rather than decreasing fans by alienating some of them. I don't see myself any different than a fan that just started watching the Patriots. I think the labels are just an elitist way to separate and classify fans. I don't see a positive reason for doing it. Remember Bob Kraft said it best. "We Are All Patriots".
Todd Arnold July 05, 2011 at 10:15 PM
We aren't alienating them......just making fun of them...LOL....like Coach Belichick says.."it is what it is..they are what they are......"
Todd Arnold July 05, 2011 at 10:17 PM
What section you in Bill?
Bill Gouveia July 05, 2011 at 10:27 PM
Section 141 - been in the North End Zone all these years! Fairly close to the field...
Russell Goldman July 05, 2011 at 10:42 PM
Todd, my point in writing this, is there are fans that believe it or not take offense to being called Pink Hats. Honestly, I don't see the point in making fun of fans because of what they wear. You have the right to your opinion and I appreciate it. I also have a right to mine. Thanks again for your comments.
Scott July 05, 2011 at 10:47 PM
At least we're not (Devil) Rays fans, pink hats or no pink hats.., I'm not even sure real TB baseball fans truly exist. Except for maybe this one that I came across one time: http://cliffynotes.com/blog/2011/07/05/tampa-florida-sports-town
Todd Arnold July 06, 2011 at 02:27 AM
Bill...2 sections to your left and also VERY close to the field.....Mosi's Moose here. Was in section 2 at the old place....
Todd Arnold July 06, 2011 at 02:28 AM
If you read closely.....As I said...."Pink Hats" has nothing to do with apparel!!!....I think it's called a metaphor....don't quote me on that...and in all honesty..i've yet to meet any pink hats that have taken offense to it..they kind of laugh it off and say "Oh cool!!"..maybe bein' a bit more thick skinned would be apropos here...it's all in fun
Bill Gouveia July 06, 2011 at 10:49 AM
I was Section 1 in the old place - one of the original Mosi's Mooses!
Todd Arnold July 06, 2011 at 01:29 PM
I too was an original Moose....still have my shirt hangin' up in the home office. Ran into Frank, the founder of the Moose's. He gave his last shirt away to the Patriots Hall of Fame right before it opened. Ahhh..the good ole days!!

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