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There surely was nothing on earth bigger than the Super Bowl game on Sunday — said to be so much so that it brought to mind having read, in more than one obituary, of a dearly departed being such an unswerving lifetime fan of some team to the degree that the dear one was to be boxed up and sent on to Heaven resplendent in their team's colors.

Regardless of the trappings in which the deceased was to arrive in final destination in Heaven or that other place, it will surely be hell in fact of being departed from their one-and-only team forever. Musing around the edges of the trials and tribulations thus brought to mind the following thoughts of an old Stanford University “fan” that were published in the Stanford Alumni:

Fan or Fanatic

A Stanford red-hot ponders the thin cardinal line between ardor and excess.

A fan, according to the American Heritage College Dictionary, is "an ardent devotee, an enthusiast." Fanatic is defined as "a person marked by an extreme unreasoning enthusiasm, as for a cause." The distinction, then, apparently rests on whether the enthusiasm is ardent or unreasoning.

Sometimes that boundary can be unclear. Consider the Brooklyn man executed for murder in Massachusetts on April 21, 1941. His last request was to know whether the Dodgers had beaten the Giants that day. Or the Denver resident who attempted suicide by shooting himself in the head after a Broncos' loss. His note said: "I can't stand their fumbling anymore."

Go Hawkeyes.

Sam Osborne

West Branch, Iowa