The psychology of being a Rutgers fan – On The Banks

If you are a Rutgers fan, you know it’s never been easy.

Every fan base goes through the many highs and lows that their teams and programs experience over an extended period of time. However, every team, program, university and organization has its own history and personality that helps to shape their reputation and identity. Each fan base is cultivated through their own experiences of witnessing it and processing it all, the good and the bad.

With Rutgers, for many years across most sports there was very little to cheer for and when there was, it didn’t last too long. When COVID-19 cancelled the postseason for the most successful men’s basketball team in decades and then the fall seasons were postponed last year, I pondered all the uniquely bad and disappointing things that Rutgers fans had experienced over the years.

In the calendar year of 2021, Rutgers athletics has made significant progress across multiple sports. The men’s basketball team went dancing for the first time in 30 years and won an NCAA Tournament game for the first time in 38 years. The men’s lacrosse team also won its first NCAA Tournament game in 30 years. And yet both teams suffered brutally painful season ending losses that robbed them of berths to the Sweet 16 and Final Four, respectively. As I pointed out at the time, the heartbreak signaled progress and is something Rutgers fans should hope becomes a normal occurrence. More success will lead to more painful endings.

Heartbreak is the air we breath as sports fans. To live is better than not having done so at all. Indifference due to constant losing is a cold death. The term “long suffering Rutgers fan” is certainly an accurate way to describe the plight of the RU faithful over the years. Every fan deserves credit for persevering in some way, any way that you have.

As you know if you read this site regularly, I have been a Rutgers fan and gone to games for almost four decades. It started when I was a six year old child. It’s in my blood, for better or for worse. For years, I only experienced being a fan of Rutgers through my own eyes. My perspective has …….


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