With each season passing in the NBA, NFL, MLB and more, new teams implement new techniques that are more entertaining for us the viewers. And it’s easy to like these teams that are fun to watch. But some people take it a little too far. Everyone knows that one guy or girl that is always jumping on the latest and greatest bandwagon. They may have barely heard of that team a year ago, but all of a sudden they know all the stats and have all the merchandise of their favorite player. I’m not going to name any names, but I would imagine nearly all of you already have someone in mind. Whether it’s the long-distance shooting of the Splash Brothers from Golden State, or the streak of 4th quarter comebacks of Tim Tebow for his Denver Broncos in 2011, there will always be bandwagons.
But I would like to take another look at the word “fan,” a word we most definitely overuse. I would like to remind you what “fan” truly means: fanatic. I feel like often times people downplay what being a fan actually means. Mariam-Webster defines “fanatic” as a person “marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion.” A fanatic is the person who owns season tickets and attends every game. A fanatic is the person you see screaming at opposing players from the stands, doing whatever they can to make an impact on the game.
I have lived in Cincinnati my entire life, and when asked who my favorite teams are, I would tell you the staples of Cincinnati sports: Bengals, Reds, Bearcats. Whenever one of these teams are playing, they are the team I’m rooting for. But I’m not a fan. I’m not a fanatic. I’ve been to a couple Bengals games in my life, but not since Ochocinco still went by Chad Johnson. Similarly, I haven’t attended a Reds or Bearcats game in years; it wouldn’t be correct to call myself a fanatic for any team.
And that’s probably why we get so annoyed when we see bandwagon fans. Because at least for me, it’s hard to picture someone who just began liking the Warriors of the NBA or the Royals of the MLB as someone who is intensely devoted to their team. If you are not sticking to your team through every bad season and every breakthrough season, you’re not a fanatic. Period. A typical bandwagon fan likes whatever team is their best in a certain season, but is then quick to jump off when that team or player under-performs.
So here is my challenge to you: if you call yourself a fan, be a fanatic. Be the guy that paints his face or that one lady with the loudest scream in the building. Stick to your team even when they miss the playoffs, or finish in last place. Because that will make it all the more sweeter when your team finally does make it to the promised land.