The sports fan community casts a wide net in Lethbridge. Dennis Connolly is one of the University of Lethbridge Pronghorn teams’ biggest fans. Each hockey game finds him, wearing his Pronghorns scarf, watching from behind the home goal. Community pride and an appreciation of the players’ skills brings Dennis to the games and so much more.
Connolly takes the status of sports fan to a new level. He not only attends the men’s and women’s games through the school term; but also promotes the idea of being a fan to students in his mathematics courses. He posts upcoming games on the foot of assignments and exam papers. Professor Connolly buys tickets and distributes them at no cost to his students. He follows the players’ successes and congratulates those he meets on campus for a good goal or a great play.
Dedicated fans often get involved as sport participants as well as watching from the bleachers. During the summer, fall, winter and spring they develop formal (close friends sharing a game on TV) and informal (sitting in a stadium surrounded by other fans) social networks which are healthy relationships. Following sports keeps minds and bodies active as fans follow the game play and walk up into the ‘nose bleed’ section.
Fans add a great deal to the enthusiasm, noise and colour to Hurricanes and Bulls games and the Lethbridge Dragon Boat Festival. They provide support for the local community through the purchase of tickets, food at the concession stand and souvenirs whether it is the university or the city of Lethbridge. Visiting fans attending the Ford World Women’s Curling or the Alberta Summer Games in Lethbridge in 2012 also invigorate the economics of the city when they pay for accommodation and food, gas for their vehicles, and visit cultural sites and events.