In Defense of Bandwagon Fansfeatured

In Defense of Bandwagon Fans

A little while ago, I got into an argument with a fucking hipster a random dude in a bar about bandwagon fans.

I have a somewhat unpopular opinion of them, which is:

I’m indifferent-to-in favor of them.

Bandwagon fans, just so we’re on the same page, are people who only starting following or cheering for a team once they’re doing really well or in the play-offs. Also known as fairweather fans, as in, they only show up when the team’s good.

For many die-hard fans, those of us who live and die throughout all the ups and downs of the season with our team, bandwagoners are little better than a seagull crapping in your hair.

They’re annoying. They clog up the lines. They ask stupid questions. And they haven’t earned it like the rest of us, dammit.

I get that.

But then I ask — how do teams get new die-hard fans? Two main ways:

1) Born into it

2) Live with it

In psychology 101, you learn that proximity leads to like. You live in a city long enough, eventually the home team kinda…seeps its way into your life. And if that home team has an awesome run of playoffs and championships? Well, it’s easy for that process to accelerate.

Trust me, I was lucky enough to live in the Bay Area in the fall of 2010. Giants energy literally infused the entire region. It was awesome. I was also living there in high school when the A’s went on their incredible 21-0 or whatever run (watch Moneyball). And I’m not and will never be an A’s fan, but when that win streak kept climbing and climbing, it was hard not to get into it, you know?

So I’m okay with bandwagon fans, because as annoying as they are, some are gonna stick around. Some will discover something and continue to show up, even when the team’s losing 10-0 in the midst of an absolutely wretched road trip. Some will start learning more about the team’s history, its hall of famers and historic moments and milestones. And some will eventually have kids and dress them in the team’s colors, and then we have a new generation to brainwash indoctrinate welcome into the fold.

To my fellow die-hards, then, I make a simple plea:

Show some patience with the bandwagoners. Answer their questions politely. Show your genuine enthusiasm. Don’t expect too much of them. And hope, just a little, that in a few years when your team is wallowing at the bottom of the standings, you’ll look over to the next section and see one of them, looking just as distraught/drunk as you.

P.S. The assholes who start fires and riot in the city after the team wins? Fuck them.

photo credit: Eric Kilby // cc