The definition of a fan by Webster is “an enthusiastic devotee, usually a spectator or an ardent admirer enthusiast.”

After watching the men’s and women’s NCAA basketball tournament and following fan comments on social media, I am not sure that the definition really applies in today’s culture. We get caught up in the games as a fan. A true fan supports their team regardless if the result is a victory or a loss and will offer many opinions about what causes the victory or loss (even if they know nothing about the sport.)

Everyone who pays the price for a ticket to a sporting event has the right to show their support in any manner within reason that they see fit. I do have issues with a fair-weather fan who jumps on the bandwagon when things go well but is done if the team loses.

I posted a comment in social media that it was just not Kansas State’s night when they lost against Loyola-Chicago in the Elite Eight round. I had a lot of negative feedback about that statement, but most loyal Wildcat fans were upbeat and positive about K-State’s season.

I also commented on social media that it was good to see MU back in the NCAA Tournament, which also evoked some negative responses from some MU fans, saying it was the same old thing from MU. These are comments made by fans who saw their team improve greatly with the new head coach who brought life back into the program in his first year.

Comments that surprised me the most were from KU fans following the loss to Villanova – complaints that KU cannot finish opponents off in big games. This was a KU team that lost in the Final Four and won the Midwest Regional, Big 12 postseason tournament and a 14th straight Big 12 regular-season title.

Kansas City, as a sports town, is known for Chiefs football, Royals baseball, Sporting KC soccer and great Division I college basketball. If you are complaining, you need to change your status from fan to complainer.

Sports fans need to have teams to live and die by. I will be a college fan of the two schools I attended, Northwest Missouri State University and University of Wyoming, until the day I die. I am their fan through and through. The rest of the time usually cheer on various coaches of other teams that I like. I am a fan of Kansas City’s two professional teams, the Chiefs and Royals. I enjoy watching other teams, but I’m a fan of only these two. A day does not go by that I do not wear one of the four teams’ T-shirts and/or hats, but I would never wear any sports gear for other college or professional teams. I will only wear the T-shirts, hats, hoodies, etc., of the high schools I either coached or attended and played for. Under no circumstance would I ever wear another team’s colors or logo.

It amazes me that people wear gear for the simple reason that it is a good team. I know people who graduated from one college and tried to become booster club president to a school they did not attend simply because the team was good. You have to be kidding! A true fan will be in a foxhole with their team come hell or high water. A true fan is with their teams 24/7, 365 days every year. That means from first place to last place and anywhere in between.

If you are watching a team play and are rooting for just that game, you are a sports observer not a fan. When I watched Kansas State, MU and KU, I was rooting for all three teams, but I was just an observer. When I listened to Northwest Missouri losing in the first round of this year’s NCAA Division II basketball playoffs I was bleeding inside, and I was darn sure a fan. When the Bearcats game ended, the first thing I did was text Bearcats assistant coach and Blue Springs graduate Austin Meyers to let him know how proud I was for the year the team had.

A fan has the right to state their opinion about a game; an observer needs to enjoy the game without any comments from the peanut gallery. If you are a fan, be a proud and positive one. If you are a mere observer, enjoy the game.

• This is a fan comment. If the Royals do not find some pitching quickly, the road is going to be hard and long.

• This is a comment from a sports observer. All three coaches from K-State, MU and KU had a great 2018 men’s basketball season.

• My quote of the week comes from American manufacturer Charles Simmons: “Our attitudes control our lives. Attitudes are a secret power working 24 hours a day, for good or bad. It is of paramount importance that we know how to harness and control this great force.”

– Tim Crone, a William Chrisman High School graduate, is a former activities director and coach for Blue Springs High School and is a host of a weekly radio show, “Off the Wall with Tim Crone,” on KCWJ (1030 AM) 6 p.m. every Monday. He writes a weekly column for The Examiner. Reach him at t.crone@comcast.net.