Bandwagoners still show support
I can’t say that I’ve ever been a devoted sports fan. The closest I’ve come to having a lasting relationship with a team is wearing a South Carolina Gamecocks shirt once every summer to a College World Series game (and that’s because when you’re from Omaha, it’s practically a requirement to support one of the frequently returning schools).
When the Gamecocks don’t make it to the World Series, though, I’m perfectly content to cheer for another team. My North Carolina Tarheels t-shirt is always on standby, and I keep in mind that I have the opportunity to buy another team’s merchandise around the ballpark’s entrances. After all, I’m not from South Carolina, and I don’t have any personal connections with the team or the players. Basically, I just like their mascot (I mean, come on. It’s a fighting chicken).
I’m aware that better fans have every reason to call me a “bandwagoner” or a “fair-weather fan,” but strangely, this stigma doesn’t bother me. My enjoyment of games doesn’t depend on whether my team wins or loses. Rather, I am content to simply take in both the spirited atmosphere and the delicious stadium concessions.
For me, it’s not about the team—it’s about the love of the game. Doesn’t supporting one team through thick and thin grow tiresome after a while, especially during the “thin”? It would be difficult to continue enjoying the sport if the only team I supported was terrible for several seasons in a row. By not having an especially strong connection to any team, I am free to simply love the sport of baseball without complications.
This mindset also transcends the baseball genre for me. I am able to enjoy most sporting events just based on the energy of the true fans in the stadium/arena/gym. It’s fun to wear a team’s colors and learn their cheers, even if just for one event. By making only a temporary commitment to a team (or, okay, by blatantly bandwagoning), I can have just as much fun at games as a genuine supporter. Plus, I don’t have to deal with the sting of disappointment following a loss.
I’ll still continue to cheer for my Gamecocks at the College World Series, but if they’re eliminated early in the tournament, I won’t hesitate to find a new team deserving of my pseudo-support. After all, it’s the sport, not the team, that endures.
True fans equal best fans
Growing up in Minnesota, I have always been a huge Vikings and Twins fan. I’ve been a fan when the Vikings almost made it to the Super Bowl in 2009 and when they only won three games in 2011. The Vikings have never won a Super Bowl, but I would never consider cheering for another team.
True fans will still support their team when all the bandwagon fans have jumped off. I will still wear my Adrian Peterson jersey if the Vikings go 1-15 this year.
Nothing bothers me more than when you see someone on Twitter talking about how much they loved Ray Lewis and the Ravens last year, even when they knew nothing about football.
A lot of fans will talk about how much they love the Vikings when they are winning, but once they start losing it is a different story.
In the NFL you find a lot of Patriots, Ravens and Giants fans. That is because they have recently won Super Bowls. You will not find a lot of Bills or Browns fans unless they are from Buffalo or Cleveland. I can guarantee that if you hear someone tell you they are a Kansas City Chiefs fan this year they are a bandwagon fan.
In baseball, true fans do not start cheering for another team when they have a down year. This year a couple of friends and I went to the Minnesota Twins opening day against the Detroit Tigers. Even though it was 35 degrees out, everyone was still full of excitement and optimism as the new season began. That is the definition of a true fan: someone who will sit out in the cold filled with excitement for the new year.
Overall, a true fan is someone who sticks with his or her team during the good and bad times. True fans today are hard to find because way too many fans are either fair-weather fans or are just jumping on the bandwagon of the new best team.