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Schools of Thought: Sport Transcends

We said goodbye to Marlys today.

Marlys was a West Fargo resident and very well known to many in the community. She was the mother of one of my wife's friend and classmate which made her a long time family acquaintance.

I knew who she was but never really well. From a distance, I envisioned a very nice grandmother,

mother and wife of Jim.

When I got to know her more, was when we moved our Bison football seats several years ago. We moved to seats where other friends and our families could be closer together. With the move, as if by fate, we also ended up sitting next to Marlys and her family. This allowed my wife to sit next to her and catch up on stories of times growing up and friendship along the way.

It was always great to come to the game and see the familiar faces around you as a group of fans

amongst the entire 18,000 plus fans. It transcended from the event to the stands in a very friendly way.

As I sat and read about Marlys the day of her funeral, I could not help but think about her sitting next to us at the games and just enjoying what was taking place on Gate City Bank Field.

It made me think about what type of person she was and what type of fan she was. It also made me think of how sports transcends from the event to other things.

From then until now, which has been several weeks, I formed several schools of thought regarding fans and what type of fan category you may fall under.

This year I plan to be the fan more like Marlys. The quiet, sit and enjoy and just relax at the game type of fan. The days of yelling "defense" through my Bison megaphone are gone. Maybe.

What type of fan are you?

Fan by definition in some schools of thought is fanatic or crazy loud and jumping and yelling for your team.

Another school of thought is for the fan who just wants to sit and enjoy what they paid money for and not have that crazy fan jumping and bumping all around them.

Are you the fan who dresses the part? A headband, wristbands, painted face, megaphone, thunder sticks and half of cup of beverage with the other half spilled on the person in front of you.

Are you the purist? I personally like to go to events and watch and analyze and see all that is going on in the arena of activity. I am not the socializing fan who wants to sit and visit and talk about everything but the game or event.

Are you the Stat keeper? Recently I was smiling and watching Mike at a Fargo Moorhead Redhawks baseball game. Mike had two huge ring binders full of autographed pictures and other memorabilia. He was very busy scoring the game. When a foul ball whizzed by him and came close to my wife and me, we both looked at each other and said if we got the ball it was going to Mike. He missed what happened on the next pitch but I was glad to inform him the batter was hit by the pitch and Mike was able to score it as such. A purist stat keeper for sure, I thought.

No matter what type of fan you are or school of thought you subscribe to, we need the noisemakers too; hopefully you will think of Marlys and be more like her than that of the rude obnoxious fan who attends events in order to be the center of attention.

"As the sport transcends from the arena of play, hopefully the fans show support in a positive way."

Sahli is a long-time West Fargo resident, parent, coach, outdoor enthusiast, and former columnist for NDSU Bison athletics in varying publications. He can be reached at for comments and ideas.