After reading Sam's piece "Pinning Down Fan Involvement", I found myself reflecting on which mode of engagement I would fit into. Reading the categories, my initial thought was that I would only be classified as a fan as a spectator. After reading the rest of the essay, I found that I exhibited more than one of the modes.
I was right that I would be classified as a fan as a spectator. I would think that most fans would also classify themselves in this way. I don't know if I would say that I get off on watching pro wrestling, but I do agree with its draw as a soap opera . It's entertaining to watch plots unfold and stories take shape. Whenever I would miss an episode I would have to be filled in by the next show in order to fully enjoy it. As much as I think that I am able to predict outcomes and stories, there is always a sense of unpredictability and interest as to what will happen next.
Since I have been mostly a tv fan, it's hard to imagine myself as a performer. I did, however, have to opportunity to attend a WWE show 10 years ago. At this show, I do remember taking on a performer role that I hadn't before. During a normal tv viewing I would describe the atmosphere as being calm and laid back. At the show I attended the atmosphere was very different. I found myself cheering and booing with the rest of the audience. I even remember going along with the audience at times when I didn't know what was going on (I was sitting in the nose bleed section), which could be viewed as a type of fan as community. I found that even at home I exhibited some of the traits as fans as performers. It seems like all of my common sense goes away when I watch a wrestling match. I never question whether something is real or not and it's not until later that I realize how silly some of the things I believed were.
Sam's essay shows just how important the fan really is to the performance of wrestling. One mode of engagement is not more right than another. There is no right way to watch a wrestling match. Instead, it is the combination of all the forms that adds to the diversity and popularity of wrestling.