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Saying obsessed or being crazy about something seems a little negative and derogatory. How am I supposed to say it in a positive way.

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How is 'obsessed' derogatory? It might be considered extreme, but derogatory is not the same thing. –  Mitch Dec 10 '12 at 13:57
    
@Mitch: people who are obsessed are mentally ill; ergo, "obsessed" is a negative term and deprecatory. –  user21497 Dec 10 '12 at 14:20
    
@BillFranke: Derogatory doesn't encompass all negative things. Ugly is not a derogatory term; it is very negative, just not derogatory. –  Mitch Dec 10 '12 at 14:29
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@BillFranke: I used derogatory because that is the word the OP used, and what I used in the comment that you responded to. –  Mitch Dec 10 '12 at 16:19
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Sports fans I know would consider "obsessed" to be a compliment. It shows that we know they care about what happens.. –  Izkata Dec 10 '12 at 19:18

4 Answers 4

up vote 7 down vote accepted

I would say,

"People here are complete fanatics!"

There is some debate about whether "fan," which is what sports enthusiasts are normally called, is short for "fanatic," (See NB below); however, fanatic, in full form, in the context of sports, means something much stronger. For example, you would call someone who lacks passion for their team a "fair weather fan" but not a "fair weather fanatic." Fanatic has the added punch of zealotry.

Plus, you should not confuse a Phillies fan:

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with the Phillies Phanatic:

enter image description here

NB: There is a passage in the Dickson Baseball Dictionary which claims that "fan" comes from "the fancy," an archaic expression that referred to dapper young men in the know who were prizefighting enthusiasts. Dickson writes,

"'The fancy' was long a class in England and America for followers of boxing. Baseball borrowed it and shortened it to 'the fance,' 'fans,' and 'fan.' I do not agree with Ted Sullivan...that he originated it ['fan'] as an abbreviation of 'fanatic.'"

Whether Dickson is right that Sullivan or anyone else for that matter did not derive "fan" from "fanatic," turning up a reference to baseball enthusiasts as members of "the fancy" on the internet is difficult.

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Did you just say that fanatic is short for fan, not the other way around? –  tchrist Dec 10 '12 at 13:59
    
I meant the other way around. –  tylerharms Dec 10 '12 at 13:59
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There's some debate whether "fan" is short for "fanatic". etymonline.com/… I saw a reference years ago that said "fan" was derived from "fancyman", and that Etymonline entry seems to be saying something similar. Not that this changes the point of the post, just a side note. –  Jay Dec 10 '12 at 15:58
    
@Jay: I see that note about boxing fans being called the fancy, and wikipedia references it too. The closest I've ever heard "fancy" come to "fan" is in, "Fancy a beer?" or the like. Searches for "the fancy" with "baseball" produce nothing except for snippets from the wikipedia source. I am curious to see it used in print, other than that single source. –  tylerharms Dec 10 '12 at 16:49
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@tylerharms re "fancy" and "the fancy", in the UK pigeon keepers are known as pigeon fanciers and the hobby is know as "the fancy". (Not to be confused with "fancy pigeons", which are a type of bird.) –  DaveP Dec 11 '12 at 16:57

Any sports nut will not mind being called that. In fact, such people usually wear the term as a badge of honor.

For example, look at the title of this whole section on Slate Magazine.

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It's pretty colloquial, but you could say that people in that region are "really into" sports "in a big way."

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You can call sports nuts sports enthusiasts and be neutrally negative. You don't get nastily negative until you use words like sports crazies, sports zealots, sportsophages (analogous to the Harry Potter Death Eaters), sportophagous assholes, athleticophagous, or homoludditicus neanderthalensis (my own neologism based on the term homo ludens: homo means human and ludens means playing; from Latin: "ludus — from ludere, covers the whole field of play", Luddite, and Neanderthal

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