As you are all aware the NBA Playoffs is in full effect. Everyone and their uncles are rallying around the television tuned in to the tournament to see who is going to be the next NBA Champ. Chicago Bulls? Miami Heat? Dallas? OKC? In every barber shop, school bus, and street corner, everyone spends countless hours arguing who is who and what is what. Is LeBron MVP worthy? These “battle grounds” also set the scene for one of the sports fan’s most heinous violations…BANDWAGONING.
The origin of this disease unknown…The farthest I can trace it back is to the one kid rooting for the most unpopular team in grade school. Everybody knows this guy…Mr. Vancouver Grizzlies. The guy who only rooted for a team because of the color of their jersey, because he thought that Big Country had a chance, or maybe for a short while he wanted to be an anti-conformist. In true renegade fashion, there was a guy that believed that Barkley would beat Jordan in a seven-game playoff series. He would be mercilessly tortured on the back of the bus as all of the Bulls fans would rain taunts and simulate John Paxson’s series winning three point shot to claim Jordan’s second win in his illustrious career. Banished in shame and humiliated by failure of his team dujour, he would abandon them the next team that had colors he likes. Shameless to say, the next season he would show up on the bus flaunting an allegiance to a new team as if the previous one got moved to Indianapolis from Cleveland.
Anyone that can say that they know me will testify that I make no bones about what teams I root for…Next to my kids, I’m not sure there is anything that I’m prouder of. Lately, especially with the advent of the social networking, the epidemic of bandwagoning has reached fever pitch. People are now being overwhelmed with the urge to jump ship as soon as their favorite player takes their talents to South Beach, or their favorite college quarterback is drafted to the NFL team’s nemesis. My Face book page is littered with offenders proclaiming that they are diehard Miami Heat fans, when last year the only people concerned with them were D.Wade groupies (Sorry Flash…it’s true)…Amongst this blasphemy…I’ve seen former Lakers fans root for the Celtics, Cowboys fans say that they always liked DeSean Jackson, and Patriots fans quietly praying for the Jets to beat the Steelers in the AFC Championship.
It’s always fun to see the perennial contenders lose and forced to rebuild after a few seasons of dominance. “Die-Hard” fans look for ways to justify rooting for new teams and parlay it into newfound devotion the Memphis Grizzlies. When Coach K leaves Duke or when Kobe retires, hardcore fans are going to bail on those teams like Maury Povich just relieved them of fatherly duties. Next thing you know you start hearing pleas for co-signs like “I’ve been a Heat fan since….” Or “I’m only rooting for the Titans because Randy Moss is my dude!” It’s a nauseating cycle of disloyalty and betrayal to teams that may have one point been the focal points of their respective leagues. As an Eagle fan, I had to watch both Randall Cunningham and Reggie White both get lost due to the onset of the unrestricted free agent market. Steadfast, I endured until the hire of Andy Reid, and the drafting of Donovan McNabb, and the establishment of Eagles as a perennial playoff team. Same with the Bulls, whom I had to endure losing the greatest basketball player of all-time and suffer the league’s most significant W-L dropoff ever. On the contrary I’ve watched my cousin (hit dogs bark) go from rooting for the Texas A&M Aggies to the Colorado Buffaloes, to the Ohio State Buckeyes with no conscience whatsoever.
I understand…Everybody loves a winner. It’s problematic in all forms of media…Nas is only as popular as his last good album…Everybody LOVED Ja Rule until 50 Cent banished him to exile. I mean, Jay-Z has made it easy for anyone to be a Yankee fan right??? It’s easy to root for the team that has the best player, the most wins or the team that has the best jerseys. But really is it so hard for some of these guys to root for a team and bear with them through thick and thin? Are we really that hell bent on not being losers that we would through our pride under the bus for the sake of not being popular? It’s more indicative of how we are wired than we think it is and although it may not be serious, it damn sure is annoying to watch some of you new Miami Heat fans flood my page with Chicago Bull insults knowing full well when they got assaulted by Boston in the Semifinals last year they were too cool to watch them lose….
The message is simple…If you have a team…stick with them…if not …SHUT THE !@#$ UP…
Thanks and signed sincerely,
Robert “Fan of the Gamecocks SINCE the 1999 0-11 season” Ford