The Bandwagon

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There is nothing worse than a bandwagoner, right? They don’t know anything. They just show up at the height of popularity of any given sport team. They only show up for the “playoffs” or whatever the particular sports’ equivalent is for that. Taking up seats in the stadium with their limited knowledge and foam fingers. A seat that a “more deserving” fan could use. We hate them. But, should we? Do they make things worse? I’m sure most of you are yelling an emphatic, “Yes” at your screens right about now and I’m not saying you shouldn’t. I just want people to think about it for a moment and perhaps start a conversation about bandwagoners (which is not an actual word) and their role in sports and beyond.

My first real encounter with a bandwagoner was with wrestlemania X7 (that’s 17) and a chick who will remain nameless. This person knew absolutely nothing about wrestling except that she thought The Rock was, “cute”.  She also knew that Wrestlemania was the Super Bowl of wrestling so, she tagged along with my 2 best friends and I . When I heard she was coming I asked my friends, “wtFuck?” And they were like, “I know!” And, “IDK”. We all thought it was stupid she was going. She wouldn’t know what was going on, none of the ongoing feuds, nothing. I thought we would constantly have to be explaining stuff to her, but you know what? We all had a blast.

Turns out you really don’t need to know a whole lot about wrestling or any sport for that matter to develop an interest in it or have fun watching it, especially at a live event. Companies like the WWE (back then it was still WWF)  actually cater to newbies. Those promos before the match that they create with all the highlights of the ongoing feud accompanied with a thumping soundtrack, slick cuts and fades? They’re not just for fans to relive those moments, they’re for bandwagoners and newcomers that are at their first show. It’s to set the match up FOR THEM.

Do you think companies and sports teams care if you’re a “true fan” or a bandwagoner? No, they don’t. Your money is just as good as theirs. Do bandwagoners really hurt the sport or anyone for that matter? No. The more the merrier. Because of when they show up, they pay more money to see the team and cheer for the team to give them the support they need when they need it the most. Miami seems to be the exception on the latter. But more revenue means more money for better facilities and better players. That’s good for everyone.

That brings me to another point. Is it really wrong to like a team because they’re good? I was having a conversation with this sites creator Matt about football and I said I liked the patriots. All hell broke loose.  Now, I’m from Houston, Texas so my football team is the Texans of course. We used to have the Oilers but, as most people know they moved to Tennessee in 1997. The Texans weren’t added to the league until 2002. So, I didn’t have a home-team for years. So, who do I choose? I still like football and I’ve always hated Dallas.  Am I not allowed to root for another team? Why on earth would I choose a terrible one? I looked to quarterbacks, who did I like? Well, John Elway of course and I also liked Drew Bledsoe for some reason. So, I watched Broncos games and Patriots games and I became a fan of their respective teams. This happens all the time. These, ” super star” athletes are ambassadors to the game and their teams. They’re why new people become fans. If they weren’t exceptional, no one would care and they wouldn’t get payed the big bucks.

I’m a Houston Rockets fan but, the first time I saw Blake Griffin do a 360 dunk over two guys on a fast break I also became a Blake Griffin fan and to some degree a clipper fan. Now to a clippers fan that might be upsetting since they had a terrible team for so long. To now have people claim to be fans when they never suffered through the drought is annoying to say the least. But, hey isn’t it more fun to have a stadium full of “fans” than an empty one? Blake Griffin and CP3 are amazing athletes, how could a basketball fan not be a fan of players that elevate the game?

The only reason anyone would root for a subpar athlete is because the play for the home town team or they’re actually from your home town. They could be related to you too I guess but, that’s it. Who’s to say who you can root for anyway? You can root for whoever the hell you want. It’s your choice and there is nothing anyone can say about it. There is no need to justify yourself to them nor do your reasons have to satisfy them. There is only one concrete rule for sports fandom for all I’m concerned and that is your hometown team is yours for life. If you move to another city by all means adopt their team but if your hometown plays against your new team, you must root for the hometown team. After that all bets are off. If your Hometown team isn’t playing or has been knocked out, you can root for whoever you want.

(Sports)Enthusiast is just another word for nerd. So, before you start ragging on someone for being a bandwagoner don’t forget you’re essentially calling yourself a nerd in the process. Whether its sports, video games, or music their will always be some bandwagoners popularizing things we thought were just for us. And we’ll still be like, “Well, I liked the Black Keys since, ‘The big come up’ and ‘I liked Call of Duty 2, you know before COD was popular”. And while those things might be true and the popularity of something can sometimes make you feel like its not yours anymore, and people are just horning in on it. Well, just remember, it was never really yours to begin with. It was everybody’s, and they just didn’t know it yet. Maybe we should stop being so exclusionary. Let Darla into the He-man woman haters club. She means well.