Dedicated fanaticism

As Jack Glen (’16) awoke, the incessant ringing of the alarm from his headphones continued to drown out any external sounds. The headphones ensured both of his parents wouldn’t be disturbed by the events that would follow long into the remainder of the night.

Glen looked the at the time on his phone, for reassurance, hoping he hadn’t somehow overslept: it read 1:30 a.m. While the majority of students lay fast asleep, fatigued from a challenging day’s work, Glen’s next one had already begun, commencing with a Boston Celtics game.

Glen retrieved his laptop from the neighboring room before returning to his bed, and watched his favorite team in action.

Coping with the NBA’s game schedule has become a strenuous task of late for Glen. Whereas missing a Celtics game in his freshman or sophomore years was a rarity, Glen’s attempt to balance the rigor and difficult schedule accompanying his junior year has led to him missing more games than before.

Despite being physically detached from the games, the simple notion of being able to watch the games is enough to sustain his passion for the Celtics. The ability and opportunity for Glen to watch the games through alternate means such as handheld devices, originally enticed him to wake up early in the mornings.  

“[When] I’m watching the games it’s for my own personal understanding that I’m there and that I’m still a part of the Celtics organization,” Glen said.

For Glen, supporting the Celtics organization has included him contacting the coaches and the general manager of the team.

Born and bred into a culture dominated by basketball, with his father and grandfather originally from Boston, Glen admits that although supporting the Celtics follows a certain familial tradition, neither attempted to impart a sense of fanaticism onto Glen.

Prioritizing between academic workload and games has become increasingly important throughout Glen’s high school years. Although he seldom missed a game until the second semester of his sophomore year, the disconcerting imminence of the college process provided a stark moment of insight for Glen: He would have to mediate more often between work and Boston Celtics’  games.

Glen’s incentive to wake up often depends on the magnitude of the game and the opposition of the Celtics. “Even though my motivation to watch the game is still as high [as before], I have to sort of out my priorities and ensure that my works gets done beforehand,” Glen said.

An avid basketball player, Glen is currently a part of the varsity boys basketball team. Another component which has increased pressure and reduced viewings of regular season drastically, Glen remains adamant on watching the Celtics perform in the NBA playoffs, the culminating tournament of the NBA league year, workload aside.

With college applications and standardized tests approaching, Glen plans to continue following the Celtics regardless of forthcoming commitments. He believes the importance of finding a club or team and maintaining one’s fanaticism for it throughout, cannot be understated.

“I think it’s good to have that attachment to a team, and if you want to be a fanatic of any team, I think whatever sport, it’s important that you not only love the sport but that you also have that enduring love for the team and the city and its people,” Glen said.

Although the Celtics dominance in the NBA has gradually subsided since 2008, Glen has stood by the team during an arduous reconstructing phase.

“They’re in a rebuilding phase and I’ve stuck by it, and I think that’s the important thing. You defend that team no matter what the situation is,” Glen said.

For Ilay Sheves (’16), little has provided more excitement than the upcoming prospect of being able to watch another routine soccer match at Stamford Bridge on a Saturday afternoon. A fervent Chelsea FC supporter since moving to London in 2005, Sheves’ enduring commitment to the team has included travels to some of the country’s  less known cities, such as Stoke-on-Trent and Wigan.

Sheves recollects his introductory Chelsea game in 2005 as an unbelievable encounter, citing it as the moment that instigated him to further support the club. Since then, Sheves has become a regular season ticket holder.

While Sheves acknowledges his father already supported Chelsea since the 1960’s, his initial temptation to become a Chelsea fan ultimately resulted from the team’s riveting style of play, and not from familial pressure. “My dad tried to breed [Chelsea FC] into us, but the passion that we’ve accumulated over these past eight years or so with that we’ve been living here is unreal,”he said.

Despite attempting to sustain his passion for the club, academic conflicts have forced Sheves to reallocate his time and divert his attention elsewhere. Whereas in the past he missed the occasional game due to family vacations, Sheves has recently prioritized between academics and Chelsea games more strictly.

“It really depends on the magnitude of the game. The bigger games I’ll definitely go to,” Sheves said.

Adamant on preserving the family’s tradition of attending games, Sheves regularly travels to away matches, often spending entire weekends devoted to soccer games.   “There are home games where you sit in your comfortable seat and are a civilized person, but when you go to away games it’s more of a culture. You stand up and sing all match. It’s very different to the home game experience,” Sheves said.

Reflecting on his proudest moment as a long-standing Chelsea supporter, Sheves cited Chelsea’s victory over Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League. Winning the Champions League provided some gratification for Chelsea fans despite a lamentable season overall.

Although Sheves acknowledges the rising magnitude of his academic workloads, he maintains the importance of preserving his fanaticism for Chelsea. Saturdays in Sheves’ household are dedicated to soccer from around the globe.

Glen hopes to continue his support for the Celtics and imagines the team to be an integral part of his life for years to come.

“Because of education purposes and the situation of applying to college, my ability to watch the games may be limited. ,” Glen said.