Sometimes, being a manic fan can the most rewarding affliction in the world. Waving the Swiss flag in 2006, cheering on Novak Djokovic in 2011 in mispronounced Serbian, raising a knee and fist in time with Nadal in 2010; all good. At some point, though, things take a turn for the worse. Supporting Federer now without losing your dignity? It’d be easier to show more grace running naked up the street. Vamosing on Nadal can’t be easy either, and yelling for Murray? Well, who said that’s ever been anything but bad news? But heartbreak won’t stop a true fan. These are the people that admit they’re a little obsessive, that take the good times with the bad, and don’t stop being crazy for their player just because times are tough. Chances are, we all have a little mad fan in us. Every week we take a look at one high-profile fan and analyze just how crazy they are...
Today we bring you Caroline, a lady who doth protest too much.
When it comes to tennis, Caroline is always on her best behavior. As a teacher who needs to set a good example, she denies ever skipping class or lying about illness to watch the sport she loves most. In fact, Caroline sees herself as positively ordinary when it comes to tennis. Sure, she keeps a constant tab on live scores at school, but she insists that doesn’t make her ‘crazy’. Only the most astute student would observe a shift in their teacher’s manner when Juan Martin del Potro clinches a tough match*.
Such is Caroline’s dedication to her work, she held off on giving herself over to tennis completely until she had finished her studies. Once she said goodbye to exam notes and hello to the classroom, however, she threw herself into the sport with the same amount of enthusiasm she approaches most things in life. Today, she spends her spare time covering tennis for her blog and is an enthusiastic Tweeter.
Since she joined Twitter almost exactly one year ago, Caroline has tweeted an impressive, (or horrendous, depending on your viewpoint), 55,039 times**.
Caroline flicks easily from English to Spanish in her tweets, which often detail the triumphs and follies of del Potro, a player Caroline fell for in 2007. “He was then a lad of 18, barely starting his career, and was playing local Frank Dancevic. I was very impressed with his power and talent. But it took a good two years for me to really get to like him enough to make him a favourite (when he defeated Rafa in Miami, after a huge comeback) and then my favourite (after his gut-wrenching loss to Federer at the French Open),” she recalls. Caroline sees sensitivity in the huge green eyes of the Argentine, eyes she found herself lost in at a media conference. “I was impressed at how he looks the person straight in the eyes when replying to their question. It didn’t change my opinion of him, but it enhanced it; he’s a really great person.”
However, Caroline’s out and out love of del Potro has seen her in some shady situations. A self-confessed emotional person, Caroline has found herself in all-out brawls over tennis, particularly del Potro. “I have argued many times!” Caroline confesses, “I get very angry when Argentines criticize him when he doesn’t play Davis Cup, for instance, calling him ‘pecho frío’ and similar insulting things. That always makes me angry.”
Caroline has since found a way to deal with those that view del Potro differently; she simply ignores them. “The arguments were usually on blogs. I don’t go on blogs anymore. Except my own,” she says.
Despite Caroline’s constant protests that there’s not a touch of crazy fan within her, it doesn’t take long to uncover the true extent of her infatuation. Recalling del Potro’s US Open win, Caroline admits she lost herself in tears of unbridled joy. “When he won the US Open, I was beyond myself with happiness. Not only had he won the Grand Slam he dreamed of winning, he did so by beating the best player of all time. Seeing him cry just made me cry with him.”
Caroline excuses her tears by claiming they’re part of her emotional make up, that tears are as natural to her as clapping and cheering are to the next person. “Too often I cry!” She laughs. “I’m a very emotional person, and when I watch a match, I can get very much into it. So sometimes, when it’s a hard loss, (like the Davis Cup finals, for instance), or a great triumph, crying can happen. And not only with Delpo, it can happen with any of my favourites or just because the player is crying. I’m really emotional, I can’t help it!”
Perhaps Caroline’s crazy inner-fan is unleashed not when she’s surrounded by players or discussing the sport with her friends, but when she’s sitting at home, on the couch, watching the game she loves so dearly. Her tears betray the calm school teacher who solemnly swore off tennis blogs and instead reveal the tender passion inside.
* Caroline wishes to assure our readers that she always has her eyes on her students and never neglects them for tennis
** At time of writing
Caroline's favorite YouTube Clips:
How crazy is she?
Caroline’s self-rating: 2
Our rating: 3***
1= Misses the occasional match
2= Has to explain to romantic partners that ‘tennis comes first’
3= Has been known to sacrifice basic life materials (food/water) to watch said player
4= Has drafted a biography on said player
5= Verging on stalker