May 17, 2018

The Jays Fan From Pakistan

Why do we become drawn to a particular sport? How do we decide what team gets all of our support?

When you’re a baseball fan, you see the same group of guys grind out games for three plus hours per day, six or seven days per week, for six months per year. You can’t help but fall in love with them. We’re happy when they’re happy.  We celebrate when they celebrate. We root for our guys to make unbelievable plays and we feel for them when they struggle too. These complete strangers own a little bit of our hearts.

As the Toronto Blue Jays are Canada’s only current MLB team, cheering for them feels more intimate to me. We share a bond with other fans, like it’s us against everyone.The same sort of thing rings true for social media groups like Twitter. I’ve discovered this whole community of dedicated Jays’ fans. Just like the players, these people we interact with may be complete strangers to us. We form bonds with them though and find ourselves caring about their lives.  Try to brighten their bad days, and celebrate them on their good days.

This community is wider than you would think. The beautiful thing about a place like Twitter, (let’s be honest, Twitter can be a sad and terrifying place sometimes), is that it brings people together who would normally have never crossed paths.

This is where I began interacting with Usman.

Usman is a young man who lives in Pakistan. As he mentions on Outta the Park, he has some family that lives in Canada and this is where he finds his connection to the Jays. When fans near Toronto are ending their evening taking in the Jays game, in Pakistan, Usman has to be up in the wee hours of the morning to watch most games. Not only that, but as baseball is not a revered sport in Pakistan, he keeps his passion for the Jays a secret from his family.

Usman was able to make these same connections like I have through Twitter and that brought him to Matt and Barry and NSR Media. They have made sure this huge fan has some baseball gear by sending him a glove and ball. They’ve even made him an ambassador for their podcast.

Usman mentioned that he wanted to write a blog, but that he has to focus all of his attention on his studies so that one day he can make his way to Toronto. While I don’t know Usman very well, not at all really, he’s one of those strangers I’m connected to through the wild world of social media that I am now rooting for and celebrating with.

So I guess we not only find ourselves cheering for the players we won’t ever know, but we are one big family cheering for each other, even though chances are we may never know each other in the “real life”. We’ve become one big Jay’s family.

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