Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Bandwagon Fan

We've all seen them.  We know one.

They're the bandwagon fan.  Urban Dictionary denies the term as (and I'm not kidding...check this link):
Someone who becam (sic) a fan of the Boston Redsox (sic) after the 2004 world series.
Yet the problem has existed for many years (see: 1986 Mets, New York).

Earlier today, Paul Silverfarb, esteemed Sports Editor of the Greenwich Post and non-blog writer, sent me the following on Facebook:
I was talking to someone who was wearing a Rangers jersey in Starbucks yesterday. I asked if he was excited for the postseason and he said: "Oh yeah...I love the Rangers. Lifelong fan." So I asked him if he thought this year's Rangers have a little 1994 in them and he looked puzzled. Then I said "You know, the year they won the Cup." and he said: "Oh yeah...that was a great time." Then I asked if he thought Kevin Dineen was a great goalie for the Rangers in 1994 to which he responded: "Oh yeah, without Dineen they wouldn't have gone as far as they did." So I kept it going....I asked "Who was more clutch for the Rangers: Sean Burke or Jeff Brown?" He said he ."..couldn't tell which one was better...they were both awesome!" *sigh*
**Reprinted by permission of Paul Silverfarb. Copyright 2011, Connor and Lucas, Inc. All rights reserved.**

As "lifelong fans" go, that's pathetic.

Here's the thing about the "evil" bandwagon fan: they have to get on sometime, don't they?  How does one become a fan, exactly?  I'll readily admit - in bold letters, if need be - that I was in the right place at the right time to become a Steelers' fan.  It was 1979 and the Steelers were getting ready to play in Super Bowl XIII and I hated the Cowboys.  A classmate bet me on the game.  That was it.  I've been a loyal Steelers' fan ever since.

Now isn't that the point?  Something has to happen for us to become fans in the first place and not everyone gets it from birth.  My son (Mr. Sean Adams) has had the Steelers/Yankees and Rangers drilled into him for nine years now.  I tried with the Knicks but he likes the Nets because he went to a Nets game once.  That also works.

Some don't find a sport until later on.  Perhaps they have a partner and they start liking a team or sport due to him or her.  Some jump on due to friends.  I had hockey-mad friends in the late-70's, and that did it for me.

The key, as I stated in the Steelers example, is loyalty.  You have to jump on the bandwagon somehow, but you can't jump off (a big criticism of mine with the in-between New York baseball fan).

I get the criticism of those who do jump on when a team is winning (and thus we go back to 1979).  At the same time, again, so long as you hop on and stay loyal, why does it matter?  Not everyone just looks at their local team and says "Hey!  I'm a Royals fan for life!"  Should they?  Maybe.  But that's not always what influences us.

You bought a Derek Jeter jersey in 1999?  Great - are you still a fan?  Perfect.

There's plenty of room.  Stick around.

It's a topic that I frankly get bored with and sick of arguing about, but I've wanted to address this.

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