Thursday, December 2, 2010

I Hate Bandwagon Fans

Inspired somewhat by this article by some douchebag from Boston (Bill Simmons).

To preface this entry, I'll give a little bit of a history on my own fandom.  When I was really little, my first favorite teams were the San Francisco 49ers because I loved Steve Young, and the Miami Dolphins because I loved Dan Marino (and it pissed off my obnoxious parents), and the Philadelphia Flyers because I loved Ron Hextall.

As I grew older, my reasons for rooting for those teams went away.  Young got hurt and Marino and Hextall retired and while I thanked those players and those teams for nurturing my interest in those sports, I felt no compulsion to root for their teams after their departure.  That left me in a bit of a bind.  In middle school and early junior high, when my sports fandom was beginning to solidify, I needed a team to root for, and I needed a good reason to root for them.

Well, birthright is a pretty damn good reason.  I felt a connection to the Bills and (to a lesser extent at first) the Sabres, that I didn't feel with any other team.  It didn't hurt that they both had exciting players in Rob Ray, Dominik Hasek, and Doug Flutie.  So I started watching games with my family and I started rooting for the Bills.  When they won, it made my parents, and the city of Buffalo happy, which in turn made me happy.  I can say with a high degree of certainty that the bandwagon of fans I know (that I went to high school with) that their rooting interests were and are selfish, and unintelligent, and steeped in the desire to be a winner at the cost of any sense of actual allegiance.

Which brings me back to the point of this entry, those bandwagon fans.  Going through high school, based on what I saw, I'd say the breakdown was as follows:
  • ~40% Cowboys fans
  • ~30% Giants fans
  • ~20% Bills fans
  • ~10% Steelers fans
Pretty goddamn retarded for a city that is a scant 140 miles from Buffalo, and a somewhat lengthier 240 miles from East Rutherford, New Jersey, where the Giants play.  Oh the fucking cowboys fans in this area.  Jesus fucking christ.

Now I am an asshole, following a football team that hasn't made the playoffs this decade so I'm pretty quick to point out the bandwagon fandom of those on my facebook feed because it makes me feel better about myself.  (And it's a way I am better than other fans that no amount of losing will take away.)  But the truth is, it's obnoxious to see so many cowboys fans when I'm nowhere near the city of Dallas.  Those people are the weak and spineless sort that picked up a team for no other reason than they were good.  Maybe Simmons said it best:

"If you're between the ages of 20-40, you're a fan of the Yankees, Cowboys, Braves, Raiders, Steelers, Celtics, Lakers, Bulls, Canadiens and/or Oilers, and you're not actually from those one of those cities ... well, you better have a reason that goes beyond 'When I was picking a favorite team as a kid, they were the best team, so I picked them.'"

It's why my ire is never sated when someone says "I've been a cowboys fan since I was a kid, ask anyone."  Like it's supposed to impress me that they started rooting for the team at the height of the Aikman - Smith - Irvin era and their attachment to a winning and nationally popular team supersedes any sense of real loyalty.  Being a cowboys fan with no real reason in central New York is like being faithful to someone only so long as they're attractive.  It's just shallow.

I guess it comes as no surprise that I think fans with local ties are a tier above other fans.  I'm sorry, but it's just true.  The only way to upgrade your fandom is to move into said city or otherwise somehow become a part of that community.  Rooting for a particular team for a certain amount of years doesn't get you anything.  Suffering through any difficulties, real or perceived, doesn't get you anything.  Sorry New York Cowboys and Steelers supporters.  You're just not real fans.

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