A Sports Fan for Life… and Death

by M-Gillies
"People say when you're a fan, you're a fan for life. But that may be a little short-sighted."

People say when you’re a fan, you’re a fan for life. But that may be a little short-sighted.

“Win, Lose, Tie; A Raiders fan until the day I die.”

It’s been talked about many times, by many people and further reported by numerous news sources as bizarre and strange stories, but the truth of the matter is that themed-funerals; these personalized sendoffs are increasingly becoming more and more popular – so much so that ESPN has launched their latest spots for the It’s Not Crazy, It’s Sports campaign with a series of videos exploring the growing trend of sports-themed funerals.

From funeral directors, tombstone makers and sports fans, the latest ESPN commercials have taken their cameras to postmortem fandom and looking at how lifelong sports fans want their funeral sendoffs to reflect their unfaltering loyalty to their favorite teams.

Directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker of The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara, Errol Morris, his 15, 30 and 60 second trailers, as well as a short documentary about the phenomenon delves into the world which many people choose to avoid discussing.

Featuring interviews from funeral practitioners from Kaczorowski Funeral Home in Baltimore, Md., Coston Funeral Homes in Pittsburgh, Pa., the Memorial Cemetery and Aggie Field of Honor in College Station, Texas, and Woodlawn Memorials in Boston, Mass.these representatives from each practice share their stories about the real fans who requested their final sendoff wishes commemorate their passion for their favorite sports team.

As one story went about a woman named Lisa, a diehard Cowboys fan, her sendoff request was to be buried in her authentic personalized customized jersey, with her Cowboy rings, socks and shorts. As for the service, attendees were notified that it was requested that attire reflect the Dallas Cowboys theme, meanwhile the minister wore a suit with a Cowboys jersey beneath his blazer.

And then there was another story which described a Pittsburgh Steelers fan who, instead of laying him in a casket, had his body laid out in a recliner with his favorite team displayed on a nearby television or the Chicago Cubs fan who said she’d like to be buried in her Cubs memorabilia: “No fancy dress,” she said with firm conviction. “I’m a Cubs fan.”

As Carol Kruse, senior vice-president of marketing said “Fans don’t just live and breathe sports. In many cases they take their fandom to the grave. The last wishes chronicled here are extraordinary expressions of fandom that prove that nothing is crazy within the context of sports.”

But it isn’t just sports-themed funerals that have captured the eyes of many people who have taken to planning their funeral sendoff wishes. In fact the sky’s the limit with the personalization options available, from Star Trek-themed funerals, penguin-themed funerals, to a Disney-themed sendoff.

To view the videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oa3B6QfAglc&feature=player_embedded

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uF-kfpv9Nuk&feature=plcp

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2EWrPIsDvmU&feature=relmfu

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