The Bandwagon Fan

“Tito Puente’s gonna be dead one day, and you’re gonna say, ‘Oh, I’ve been listening to him for years, and I think he’s fabulous.'”

– Bill Murray in “Stripes”

 

 

 

I was sitting at my local pool hall, tipping back a few.  I know… too many of my stories begin that way.

 

It was a few weeks ago and the Stanley Cup Finals were in full effect, as much as hockey can be in full effect in the South.  The gentleman sitting next to me was avidly rooting for the Detroit Red Wings, who happened to be losing that game.

 

As I know very little about ice hockey, I asked him what other sports, and teams, he followed.  After all, sportschump.net is a study in sports and all things otherwise. 

 

bag_headHe went on to tell me that aside from being a Red Wings fan (Detroit), he was also a Packers fan (Green Bay)… and a Yankees fan (New York).  I asked where he was from as all these teams hail from three different states.  Turned out he was from the Midwest, which explained the Detroit and Green Bay allegiances… but the Yankees?  Understandably nobody roots for the Lions unless they’re wearing a paper bag over their head.  Rooting for them is like rooting for an illness.  But what about the Tigers?  Or Brewers?  Or Twins?  One thing this world definitely does not need is another bandwagon Yankees fan?  All apologies to the Steinbrenner family, but there’s enough Yankee fans to go around.  Much like they do with revenue-sharing, major league baseball needs to institute some sort of fan-sharing with the smaller market teams.

 

I have another friend some of you may have heard of, or possibly even had the pleasure of meeting.  He goes by the name Brotha E.  Aside from his steadfast allegiance to the Florida Gators, Brotha E is the quintessential bandwagon fan.  Originally from Philadelphia, E has rooted for the Eagles, Jaguars, Chiefs, Titans and Buccaneers. I know I’m forgetting half the teams he’s openly cheered for but suffice to say they were all atop the standings while he was doing so.

 

While E and I watched these most recent NBA Playoffs together, often in a whiskey induced haze as we are prone to do, I was pulling for the Magic, the NBA team with which I most associate since I lived in that city for ten years.  E, who we knew as a Lakers fan because of that fake, leather, mall jacket he wears, rooted AGAINST the Magic, and not just in the Finals.  When the Magic played the Celtics, E rooted for Boston.  A Lakers fan rooting for Boston?  Have you ever heard of such a thing?  That’d be like rooting for the road runner AND Wile E. Coyote.  When the Magic played Cleveland, he rooted for the Cavs.  As far as I know, E’s never even stepped foot in Cleveland.  Keep in mind, this is the same Brotha E who’s radio station broadcasted Orlando Magic games,  the same E with whom I attended perhaps thirty or forty Magic games, now hating on the Magic.  Explicable?  Hardly.

 

The ultimate bandwagon fan was my pops.  Growing up, he would consistently cheer for whichever team would win the championship.  Never the biggest of sports fans, I’d always ask him who he was rooting for.  He’d answer “whoever’s winning.”  Back then, that was the Yankees.  Just like Dad’s knack to select the tastiest item from a restaurant menu while I would routinely pick something less savory, dad knew how to pick a winner.  In fact, he’s the reason I grew up a Red Sox fan in New York.  They were the most anti-Yankees team I could find. 

 

I’ve been a Red Sox fan since 1977.  A Buccaneers fan since 1983.  A Gator fan since enrolling at the University in 1987.  A Magic fan since their inception.  My allegiances are unwavering.  As a fan of those teams, I have suffered euphoric highs and devastating lows.  For every Bucky Dent, Bill Buckner, St Louis Rams, Kenny Smith, Nick Anderson free throw, Warrick Dunn, Charlie Ward and Lawrence Philips, there were also the two Red Sox World Series titles, five Gator national championships in both basketball and football and one glorious Super Bowl to wash away those bitter moments.

 

steeler-fanTeam allegiances define us like our scars, birthmarks or astrological signs.  We experience victory and defeat week after week, year after year.  We either celebrate or commiserate with our friends over our beverage of choice, breaking down what went right or wrong.  When our teams lose, we feel hollow inside.  But when our teams win, all is right with the world. 

 

Rooting for the teams we grew up with allows us to displace ourselves from reality if only for a moment.  Not doing so robs us of the opportunity to wholly invest ourselves in sport.  

Look, it’s a free country.  Root for who you want.  Allegiances stem from different beginnings.  But rest assured, if you give to your one team wholly, the end result will be ever so rewarding.  Unless of course, you’re a Browns fan.

29 thoughts on “The Bandwagon Fan

  1. Chris aka Sportschump

    Loyalty at times can be a two edged sword at times. It pains us to see when our teams do bad. But nothing gives us more pleasure than when there’s constant success. As to the professional franchises in the Tampa Bay area . They’ve yet to know that feeling on a really constant basis.

    So it goes without saying that I tie my mainsail to the Marlins. At least with them I know what I’m getting from the outset when it comes to playing ball. Hell they’ve done more since their inception than most franchise with a far more notoriety to their name.

    I’m looking at the NL East table and I think that we’re in with a chance. Hell if the Phillies slip up I think that we can win the damn thing. The Mets are in a mess ! The Braves can’t seem to get over the hump . And the Nationals…..well they’re being what we always thought what they are …… absolute crap !

    Alan Parkins

  2. Allegiances are also generational.

    It’s gotta be tough for a franchise starting out to generate a fan base when they’re competing with teams that have been around forever.

    I can’t believe I made that video public.

  3. That is fantastic stuff Chris! Great video. Although I have been unwavering in my supports for the New York Mets, it has been hard to keep my allegiances to the Knicks, Jets and Islanders, all teams I grew up rooting for because:

    1) I haven’t lived in New York in over twelve years

    2) Those teams really suck for the most part and have sucked for most of the last decade

    3) It’s tough for me to root for different teams than my kids who now love all things Boston. I find myself rooting for the Pats, Bruins and Celtics (although I draw the line at the Red Sox)the same way I used to root for the Magic and Jaguars when we lived in Florida.

    4) I also think that if players can exploit free agency, so can fans.

    5) I’ve had some great student/athletes at Syracuse and Florida and I find myself rooting for guys like Donovan McNabb and Max Starks (two of my all-time favorite students) when they turn pro.

    Great stuff as always Chris!

  4. And people give me a hard time because I have not become a gator football fan! I’ve lived in FL (two times) more than half my life. I’m still a fan of the Braves, Falcons, Hawks, and the now Calgary Flames (left Atlanta in 81/82). I didn’t pay attention to college sports much, except my Irish, (I am Catholic) until the National Champ Dawgs of 80-81. I pull for the Jags since they were a new team in FL and I lived there for 8 years. Every other FL team, college or pro, could lose every game and it would not bother me. I would be disappointed if a gator fan moved to Athens and became a Dawg fan and I don’t understand how you can despise a team all season and then root for them to win a bowl game or championship??!!! Just doesn’t make sense to me.

  5. Good point, Frank. When you begin to know athletes personally, it’s tough not to cheer for them and their efforts.

    Not so sure about you rooting for the Celtics AND the Knick tho.

    Wait, the Knicks still have a team? What are they going to do when they can’t land either Wade or Bron Bron in 2010 other than continue to suck more?

  6. Dan… we don’t give you crap for not being a Gator fan. We give you crap for being a Bulldog fan. They suck. Nobody likes them. You’re a classy guy. You should have better taste.

    Kidding.

    I agree with you. The year Florida State played Tennessee for a national championship, I couldn’t bear to watch. Never have I rooted so hard for a 0-0 tie.

  7. Chris aka sportschump …

    I’m loyal to my employers ’cause they pay me. I’m loyal to the girlfriend ’cause I gets some on a regular basis. But when it comes to my teams I’ve just to grin and bear it, win lose or draw. But it doesn’t mean that I won’t question their tactics as when necessary. It’s every fans right to do so !

    If you’re ex-ballplayer <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lenny_Dykstra . How much worse can it get for you as of now ?
    He’s said to be $10m -$50m in debt with only assets of $50,000. What a dick-wad !

    Here’s a piece on the Mets. Let me know what you think as to the piece’s merits ?

    Ah Those Pesky Mets Much Like Their AL Neighbor They’d Rather Talk About The Past Not The Present Or The Future ….

    Alan Parkins

  8. Can u say Lakers… for as long as you’ve know me 🙂 Clearly add the GATORS to the list, along with, yes, u heard it right, those boys in Blue, LA Dodgers.

  9. Mony… I know you as a Lakers fan. And likely a Gator fan moreso than an Anteater. Fortunately they never play each other.

    It’s your buddy Eric we wonder about.

  10. Chris aka sportschump..

    In terms of a sporting affinity. I hadn’t really watched that much US sports. I arrived here in the US on a permanent basis in August of ’92, ten days before Hurricane Andrew . So as such any teams that I was following at the time were back in the UK. I followed the Premiership soccer teams Man Utd and Chelsea.

    But as you know I was also into the martial arts . I competed at the amateur level whilst in high school. And then once in the military (Royal Marines …I taught it to members there….. served 6 1/2 years and saw active service)it was still more of the same.

    Once here however having engratiated myself into the sporting culture. I followed the Marlins from their inception ever since. I was never really a fan of the Dolphins , merely because a racial incident that took place while attending one of their home games. I’m a fully fledged Pats’ fan. And in terms of the NBA it’s the Spurs , all the way !

    So those teams I’ll live and die with as they say.

    Sorry I’m unable to assist as far as a donation is concerned. But perhaps you can have a word with the Feds ?

    I dropped this piece on Karl Malone. One of my favorite players from the NBA. I just liked the guy ’cause he just brought it, night in , night out . No matter what and he was always there for his teammates.

    Let me know what you think as to the its merits ? As and when you’re ready I’ll look forward to reading your comments.

    Bound For Glory But There Are Those Who Are Unable To Bask In The Limelight …..

  11. So do you like the Mavs picking up Marion?

    Should be another heated Western Conference between L.A., Denver, San Antonio and Dallas.

    And what’s up with Carlos Boozer? Can this guy pick a team and stay with it? He went from playing with LeBron to playing with Derron Williams to now very possibly the Bulls?

  12. Chris …

    In essence it’d appear to be a good pickup for the Mavs. But I still feel that physically and mentally the team’ll always be viewed as being soft. Hell a roll of Charmin’ tissue paper is tougher than that bunch !

    As for Shawn Marion , I’ve always liked his game. Kerr’s biggest mistake was letting him go to begin with. The Suns have never been the same since.

    Just dropped this piece on the BCS and the rumblings concerning Congress’ view of the BCS system and its inherent flaws.

    If You Can’t Trust The NCAA Or The BCS Then Who Can You Trust ?

    Alan Parkins

  13. Chris aka sportschump

    Carlos Boozer can’t decide where he wants to be or who he wants to play for. All he’s really concerned with hoewever is how much jack he’ll be making.

    If Hinrich does end up with the Utah Jazz , it could make them that much better. As Hinrich is far more creative a player than Boozer.

    Just finished putting in over 100 hours collectively on a deal when the client backs out, merely because of the unrest in Honduras. He and his company are however prepared to wait until things calm down.

    Alan Parkins

  14. I still would take Boozer over Hinrich in a heartbeat, even with the loss of Thomas. With Rose, Deng, Boozer and Noah, that’s a nice little lineup. But I do think Chicago will miss Gordon more than they’re willing to admit.

  15. Chris aka sportschump

    I like to see guys either commit to playing for a team . Or just get the hell out of Dodge ! As to the Bulls , if they can’t get a semblance of a team together that’ll complement Derrick Rose. Then this team’ll be going absolutely nowhere whatsoever.

    I personally can’t see the Utah Jazz now going anywhere either.

    Bound For Glory But There Those Who Are Unable To Bask In The Limelight ….

    Talking about the Jazz I’ve done a retrospective on the career of Karl Malone. One my alltime favorite players in the NBA.

    Let me know what you think as to the merits of the piece ? As and when you’re ready I’ll look forward to reading your comments.

    Alan Parkins

  16. I remember when Boozer left Cleveland. That was huge news and the whole town felt betrayed.

    Now he’ll be playing back in the midwest? A little too close to home, don’t ya think?

  17. Chris aka sportschump ….

    Whatever Boozer is thinking, it’s been merely about himself. And that’s to be expected when it comes to a narcissistic primadonna athlete.

    Money it appears is the grease that soothes everything . And then at times they expect loyalty from the franchise. Well it’s a two edged sword and before one expects respect it has to be given. Then you’ve got to show it to others as well and in particular one’s peers.

    Dropped this piece on my beloved Pats. Like you said one has to show loyalty to the team one supports.

    It’s Nice To Know It’s Back To The Norm As Tom’s Back ……

    All this brouhaha over Lance in the Tour de France. Anyone who knows anything about the sport would realize that it’s not until week two that things legitimately start transpire. This is where he’ll make his mark or he won’t. The mountain climbs are his speciality.

    Alan Parkins

  18. I think we all know Lance will be just fine.

    How do the other cyclists in the race feel about him?

    And I know you saw what Sanchez did last night. Incredible performance.

  19. Chris aka sportschump ..

    Well considering that the sport of cycling makes major league baseball seem pristine in terms of the drug abuse. You oughtn’t to be surprised that there’s some jealousy amongst the riders. But at the same time there’s a great deal of admiration for his accomplishments.

    As for Sanchez considering his ups and downs this season. This was a terrfic accomplishment for the kid. And to consider there was talk about the Giants trading him ? With he. Lincecum , Johnson and reinvigorated Zito the team is back on the move.

    But I do believe that the wildcard in the NL will come from either the east of central division.

    Alan Parkins

  20. Damn Chris!

    You watch a game like you had the mortgage, the car payment, and the electric bill all bet on it!

    Or, did you? LOL

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