When I became a New Kids on the Block fan in 1988, I had no idea the impact it would have on my life. I thought, at the time, it was just a band. I was one face in millions. I went to concerts, listened to their music, bought their memoribilia. I hung out with my friends at school who also liked them. That was my role. That was my responsibility. That's where it ended. And I loved every minute of it. (I personally got more out of it than they did, I think, but that's for another blog, another time.)
Fast forward to 2008 when they announced their reunion. Again, I went to a concert, listened to their music, bought some memoribilia. I reunited with friends I hadn't seen in almost two decades. I slipped easily back into my role. But that's not where it ended this time.
The internet made us different fans than we were the first time around. The guys were more accessible to us and we to them. But more importantly, it made us more accessible to each other. For the first time, we were able to connect with other fans on a mass level internationally. How incredible! We developed friendships that were based on our mutual admiration for five Boston boys. Those friendships were nurtured, bloomed and virtually exploded into life-changing relationships for us.
We didn't know it at the time, of course, but we needed that. We needed to be reminded that it was okay to have girlfriends again...to do things as individuals again...to have our own interests outside our spouses, kids and careers...to rediscover ourselves! And if it would've stopped there, that would've been enough.
But in rediscovering ourselves, we learned that we could be nurturing and giving and loving beyond our own four walls. I've read stories about fans who have bought tickets for other fans they didn't even know simply because someone had something crappy happen in their lives and someone wanted them to feel better if only for a couple hours at a concert. I've heard about people who gave up their spot on the cruise because someone else's fell through. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised for Susan G. Komen to help stop breast cancer through Team Betty's worldwide. Last month, a life was saved because someone donated a kidney to a fan.
A fucking KIDNEY!
Who else does this?
I know we've got our problems and our over-the-top fans who sometimes make us look bad, but down deep, this thing we've got? It's fucking beautiful and I'm proud to be part of it. So if you've ever sent a piece of merchandise to another fan who couldn't be there, bought someone a ticket to an event, let a stranger stay/ride with you to save on concert travel expenses, given someone pirated music (because let's face it, you can't buy some of that shit anywhere) because they'd never heard "the naughty version," donated money to Komen in honor of Betty, RT'd a Tweet you thought the guys needed to see, shared your concert photos with other fans, made a special ringtone for someone, passed along a "Hi" or a hug to one of the guys from someone less fortunate, called someone from a show so they could hear their favorite song or done anything big or small that has brightened the day of another fan...I raise my glass to you!
YOU are what this is about.