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Desert Companion

Visual Commentary: Down by Contact

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Super Lonely Fan
Illustration by Chris Morris

The ballad of the lonely superfan

Pity the Las Vegas sports lover. At long last, he’s reached a once unimaginable point of superabundance: a storied NFL franchise and new stadium, a hockey team surging toward the finals, WNBA, triple-A baseball in the minor league’s best ballpark, semi-pro soccer, and even some UNLV teams worth following. With the Raiders in place, his city has arrived, and so has the Singularity — the Vegas superfan is about to merge with the wide, wide world of sports.

Only to be thrown for a loss by COVID-19.

Now, sure, sports will (probably) go on. There will be games, stats, and excitable Tony Romo babble. But, watching from home, glum from the fake crowd noise in his empty arena, the superfan can’t wallow in the yowling, cheering, beer-spilling, expensively hot-dogged, backslapping fullness of it. Because fandom at this level is the opposite of social distancing. It’s about ecstatic communion with the likeminded, the mad love of your team, being part of the action. All impossible now

Fortunately, there’s a phrase known to every sports lover that might help; four words that, season after season in all sports, already assuage millions of fans: Wait ’til next year.

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