There is a certain type of person who writes football fanfiction, but we have all seen and maybe even talked to in a coffee shop while waiting for a friend to arrive. He or she appears harmless and friendly, but fiercely protective of what is on the screen of their laptop. In an effort to be friendly, we ask what they are working on, and they respond with,” Oh—just a piece of fanfiction.”
Many people assume that means they are working on their own Harry Potter spinoff or side story for one of the characters in Star Wars. But there is growing population that engages in another type of creative writing—football fanfiction.
What is American football fanfiction?
Football fanfiction is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a story from the imagination of a fan-focused on their favorite football player or team. American football fanfiction is a great source of entertainment due to the media attention our players in the NFL receive. Since more than half of the media stories about players are blown way out of proportion, filled with hearsay information, and every analyst and journalist is trying to give their two cents on each story, American football fanfiction writers can elaborate on these fallacies and take the storyline wherever they choose to.
It’s no different than a fan of a popular television series writing a script for their own episode. Instead of Penny and Leonard getting married, they imagine a version of The Big Bang Theory where Penny and Sheldon become a couple instead. Or maybe they spring the story ahead 25 years, and Penny and Leonard’s son meets Sheldon and Amy’s daughter for the first time.
Common themes in American football fanfiction include the writer making their favorite team and kicking the winning goal against their hated rival. Maybe a chance meeting with a certain player that develops into something romantic or intimate. American football fanfiction gives the writer a chance to be in the game and a part of the team more so than anything else.
American football fanfiction is just like traditional fanfiction. It is just a way for fans to express their love and appreciation for their favorite players and/or team. Maybe instead of their hero missing the big kick at the end of regulation, he makes it. As he runs around the field celebrating, he sees one fan in the stands celebrating harder than him. So, he takes off his jersey, runs over, and gives it to her….
You get the idea.
Some football fanfiction is romance-oriented. But much of the football fanfiction online ranges from age-appropriate material to mildly racy content to near-soft-core porn. Some of it is extremely well-written; some—not so much. But there is nothing wrong with any of it.
That is part of the joy of football fanfiction. Anyone can do it. The only thing they need to create it is a passion for a particular player or team and a vivid imagination.
How football fanfiction became an outlet for football fans?
When we think of diehard sports fans, we think of the guys that never miss a home match. We certainly don’t someone writing fanfiction. We imagine fans that arrive early to every game dressed in the latest team/player apparel. They paint their faces, they cheer like they are the only person at the game, buy drinks for anyone wearing the home jersey, and they don’t accept losing with grace.
When their team wins or if their favorite player kicks the winning goal—stop the presses. They want everyone to hear about it and, and they expect everyone to want to hear about it from them!
That’s what we’ve been conditioned to perceive the diehard fan as. It is the point where a fan is labelled a fanatic! We don’t picture them sitting at their keyboards typing out a piece of football fanfiction.
“Many commentators have assumed that such cultures of engagement with football will be full of (predominantly middle-class) people whose interest in the game is simply a knee-jerk response to the marketing activities of clubs and corporations” (Moor 2007, 139).
But no sport is just about the game anymore. With the media driving the value of sports and the income of teams and players, the media demands to be fed. It wants more than just the scores and who kicked what. It wants the story behind, after, and surrounding the game as well. This is where football fanfiction has made its mark.
The story was once the match; how it played out, who scored, who won. But that is no longer the case. The game is just a continuation of the story that was already in progress, retold by those who watched that create their own football fanfiction, that will continue after time expires.
“It is increasingly difficult to maintain a purist definition of sport as athletic performance, given that, however important it might ultimately be, it could not be sustained without all of the other modes of media representation and the involvement of constantly shifting audience formations.” (Rowe 2011, 520 via Transformativeworks.org).
The media demands information. As it demands it, players and teams provide it, and the media packages it for consumption by the public. Suddenly, the players are more than just guys in jerseys running around the pitch kicking a ball. They have personalities and become someone fans can relate to and understand better than before, leaving it open for the writing of football fanfiction stories to have some truth to them.
With that understanding and a deeper connection to the game and its players, football fanfiction is born.
The logistics behind football slash fiction
So, what sort of fan takes part in this hobby, writing football slash fiction? Is it the nerdy, quiet one that never goes to a game because he doesn’t like the crowds? Is it the super-fan that wears body paint for every home match even if he’s watching it at home alone?
Football fanfiction is for the fan that wants to imagine himself or herself as more than just a fan. They want to feel like they are part of the team or their favorite player’s best friend (or something more intimate).
Does this make them a little crazy? Stalker material? Absolutely not! It just makes them fans with imaginations. Who hasn’t wanted to date a celebrity or hang out with the team after it won the championship match? Every fan has! Football fanfiction gives fans a means to live out their fantasy.
Rather than put their fandom to the test by painting their entire bodies the team colors and streaking at the next home match, they are letting their imaginations do the work for them through their football fanfiction.
So—how do you get started writing football fanfiction?
Well, there are several platforms online that are popular for writing football fanfiction, i.e., Wattpad, Tumblr, and WordPress. Each has their own set of rules and privacy settings. But they are also designed to be accessible. Some fans may write football fanfiction for themselves, but the majority want other fans to read their work.
When they do write a football fanfiction story, they will present it on a platform for other fans to read and (hopefully) enjoy.
Mostfootball fanfiction writers already understand that they will probably not get published, as most bloggers are aware ;). That doesn’t mean they don’t take pride in their work. In most cases, writers are fiercely protective of the football fanfiction stories they produce.
Not that they can’t take criticism. But most football fanfiction writers can spot someone more interested in ‘trolling’ then critiquing. However, it is not unusual for cyberbullying to take place.
What if my son/daughter wants to start submitting to a football fanfiction tumblr?
Anytime our kids want to get involved in anything online it is good to be aware of whatever they are doing. Follow whatever football fanfiction tumblr they post to. It doesn’t matter if it is football fanfiction or some other sort of activity. People online can be brutal beyond belief, hence the prevalence of cyberbullying in today’s society.
For some odd reason, there are a lot of thoughtless, callous people in the cyber-universe that do not care that they are commenting to a person— not just typing words into a box and hitting enter. What’s even more perplexing is that propensity for many to pile on and add even nastier comments once someone leaves the first.
Tack on the hate and vitriol that some may have for the player/team that is the subject of your child’s football fanfiction, and you have the recipe for serious nastiness.
So, before your child embarks on their first football fanfiction story online, make sure you talk to them about the dangers of cyberbullying. Make them promise to give you access to the story so you can keep an eye on any comments people leave.
If possible, try to find a fan forum that closely monitors cyberbullying behavior or one that caters to fans of football fanfiction. That way, the audience is more likely to be friendly and constructive rather than mean and destructive.
Maybe kids shouldn’t get into football fanfiction.
A case can certainly be made for encouraging your son or daughter to take up a hobby other than football fanfiction. However, writing is a great exercise for the mind as it encourages them to be creative and explore. It helps build vocabulary and encourages them to express themselves. If they struggle to do so, it can be a great way for them to improve upon communication skills as well.
Writing football fanfiction can also be a great way for kids to grab a better understanding of who they are. That is not to say that they are going to be the next great football star because of how well they create football fanfiction stories. But as they learn to express themselves through their writing better, they can learn a lot about the type of person they want to be.
So, don’t be afraid of your kids being into writing football fanfiction (that is unless they idolize a player/team you hate).
An American Football Fanfiction Tale: For the Love of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA in December A woman sits next to her husband during a game featuring the New England Patriots and some other team (it’s not important who). She’s not a football fan, so she’s not really paying attention. She just knows the team is not playing well and in danger of losing. From what she can gather from her husband and the people around her, that doesn’t happen very much.
But she doesn’t care. It’s cold; these tickets cost $250, and they’re out of hot chocolate. So she sits….lost in her own thoughts….
I don’t get why my husband loves this darn game so much. It’s December in Boston which means its cold outside. I don’t look good in this huge puffy jacket I have to wear to keep from freezing my—well, my husband’s favorite parts of mine off.
It is just miserable out here. From the scowl on his face and how he hasn’t talked to me since Tom Brady threw that interception early in the third quarter, he can’t be having a good time. So why in the world did he want these dang tickets for his birthday?
I get that he played in high school and playing football in Texas means the world to a teenage boy. But we live in Boston, and he’s a fan of the Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. When we were dating, I can remember him saying they hang people in Texas for just joking about doing that.
Hmm…. Maybe, that’s why we moved.
By the way, he talks about the ‘genius that is Patriots head coach Bill Belichick’ I would have thought he’d have nicer things to say about the man. But he’s been cursing the man since halftime and muttering all sorts of unpleasant things under his breath.
From what one nice lady told me in the bathroom, the team is really good, and it is all because of how awesome Tom Brady is. Another gave all the credit to Bill Belichick but said he’s a grumpy old grouch. A third woman in a stall chimed in and called him a silver fox without the silver hair (much to the delight of the rest of the bathroom).
I think it might have been his girlfriend! But I’m not sure.
Ugh. So here we are. Freezing our behinds off at this game my husband doesn’t appear to be enjoying because he loves Tom Brady and thinks Bill Belichick is a god. Yes, those very people he keeps cursing.
Nothing appears to be going well for Tom Brady and the Patriots. But then all of sudden everyone jumps out of their seats and starts screaming. Her husband high-fives her and gives her a kiss before high fiving every guy he can reach—and he doesn’t know any of them. Apparently, that’s just something guys do; like it’s in their handbook on how to behave at public sporting events.
Someone needs to write one of those for women, but on how to survive rather than behave. It’s easy to figure out how to act. You never cheer for anything the other team does. Tom Brady is always getting screwed over by the refs (because he never screws up). Bill Belichick is never wrong (he thought he was once, but he had already moved on to Cincinnati).
So, I guess Tom Brady must have done something right since everyone is chanting his name now. I’m not sure what, but I can see the scoreboard is in our favor and the game is almost over. Good. I guess that means our team is going to win which means my darling hubby will be happy and in a good mood on the way home.
Good–because he is a real sourpuss when the Patriots lose. Almost as bad as I’ve been told Bill Belichick is during press conferences when the team wins (which is apparently pretty bad).
You’d think someone who just won a game would be happy. I mean, it can’t be easy to get all those young, head-strong, young men to bend to his will and do what he says. He should be proud of his accomplishments. Heck—he deserves to brag a little bit!
But I guess that’s why my hubby calls him the Emperor (like I’m supposed to understand all Star Wars references automatically). If his hoodie was black and his skin more wrinkled I could see it. I don’t know. Men.
I guess it’s because he must be using the Force to get all those kids to play as he wants them to all the time. These are not the droids you are looking for….
The game finally ends, and everyone cheered since Bill Belichick engineered another victory and Tom Brady pulled it off. After another round of high-fives with strangers, she follows her husband up the stands and into the main concourse—where she has another surprise waiting for him.
A friend of hers that works for the local news station is going to bring them back to the press conference area. When she tells him he squeals with glee like he was a 12-year old girl that just ran into Justin Bieber.
Apparently seeing Tom Brady and Bill Belichick in person is a big deal. But first, the players get a little time in the locker room. So, they wait….
I hope we don’t have to wait too long. I hate to risk getting caught back here and my friend getting in trouble. But when we told my husband, it was clear this was a pretty big deal. Heck, I wouldn’t mind seeing these guys for myself. Maybe then I can see what the big deal is about them.
That Belichick guy just seems to stand around a lot. I never see him smile. He doesn’t talk to anyone during games. It’s like he must be using the force. How else could be communicating with everyone?
As for Tommy boy, I guess he’s great at what he does, but most of the women in the bathroom were not fans, and they all thought he was a god too.
So, what gives on these guys? I don’t know. But maybe I’ll find out.
She looked down for a moment to check a message on her phone. Almost instantaneously, her husband crashes into her and sends her flying. Her phone breaks as it hits the pavement. She is momentarily dazed but can hear someone apologizing behind her with an outstretched hand. He says something about how he’s always destroying phones and knows a guy who will hook her up.
As she takes his hand, stands up, and brushes herself off, she realizes she is face to face with Tom Brady himself.
“Yeah, my husband has talked about you having issues with phones before.”
Brady, with a hand on her shoulder, smiles and laughs.
“Yeah, I suppose I have. Sorry about bumping into you guys. I was running late getting out here. Coach hates it when we keep the press waiting. I’m coming, Coach!”
“I didn’t hear anyone calling your name.”
Brady grins again and says,” He doesn’t talk much. He doesn’t have to. You know—Dark Lord of the Sith and all.”
“That’s a Star Wars reference, right?”
That comment elicits another giggle from Brady,” Wow, so you must be the type that will do whatever it takes to make your husband happy. Go to football games, pretend to like Star Wars…He’s a lucky guy. When he comes out of his fan-boy induced shock, tell him I’ll have my guy send you a new phone, and it was nice to meet you. Gotta run!”
It was at that moment that I understand why my husband and countless other men and women around the country love New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. It’s not just that he’s an incredibly talented quarterback with an insane knack for winning games and championships. It’s not that he’s incredibly handsome and easy on the eyes either (which he is, of course).
I mean, well, I suppose it is both of those things to some degree for everyone. My husband sure turned to mush when Brady tried to talk to him. He reminded me of myself when I went backstage at a New Kids On The Block concert when they were still kids (and I was too).
Anyway…I guess it is both of those things, the talent, and the looks. But for me, it will be something more than that. It will have nothing to do with the touchdowns or those eyes and that smile.
No, for me, Tom Brady is just an all-around good guy. You don’t see too many of those in sports these days.
I can now see why my husband wanted to name our son Tom Brady Smith. We could have certainly named him after someone worse (like Bill Belichick).