Columnists, Sports

Indirect Kick: Bandwagon fans, please stop

If you're a bandwagon fan of a team like Bayern Munich, don't bother. PHOTO COURTESY WIKIMEDIA
If you’re a bandwagon fan of a team like Bayern Munich, don’t bother. PHOTO COURTESY WIKIMEDIA

Sports. They’re the one thing that draws us all together on Planet Earth. Whether in triumph or defeat, sports fans remain loyal to their teams. This loyalty stems from a general feeling of community that allows everyone to be so comfortable.

But alas, there always seems to be that one faction in a particular community that makes life difficult for other members. I’m talking about bandwagon fans. You know, those people who think they’re superfans of a particular team, yet couldn’t tell you the color of the team’s jersey if they had it on.

Bandwagon fans are the types of people who make you feel ashamed to support your respective team.

There are two types of bandwagon fans: clueless ones and indifferent ones.

Let’s take a look at the more positive of the two — the indifferent type.

Face it. Like it or not, we’ve all been guilty of jumping on the bandwagon at one time. But those who do so indifferently are not as bad as those who are clueless.

I can wholeheartedly say that I am a full-time indifferent bandwagon fan, but for reasons more than just “I like this guy” or “They have cool jerseys.” When I become a bandwagon fan, it’s not based on a certain bias or favoritism I have for a player. Rather, it’s because of the style in which a team plays or the class with which the team acts.

For example, when it comes to the World Cup, I support the United States because, well, I live here. But when the United States is traditionally eliminated, I turn my attention to another team. For me, that team is the Netherlands, and that choice is not because they’re good or wear orange. It’s rooted in their history.

As one of the proudest national teams in history, the Netherlands plays with unwavering confidence every time it steps on the pitch. All Dutch players feel the pride and patriotism of dawning the orange shirt. Due to such tradition and pride, I appreciate the way the Dutch play the game of soccer, and I support them.

So where does indifference come from?

Well, since I’m not Dutch, I don’t have any ties or concerns about the Netherlands. However, if they were to play in a game I happened to be watching, I would back them.

Now onto those clueless bandwagon fans. I’m talking about the person who was wearing a Miami Heat jersey two years ago and can be seen today with Cleveland Cavaliers attire. To top it off, this person also lives in New York City.

The only reason why the clueless bandwagon fan supports a team is because they just happened to win a championship or have the best player. There is no love here, no loyalty and no true support. Sports are meaningless to this person, but the $25 shirt is priceless. It’s about popularity and being among the best.

Because I know soccer best, I’ll stick with it. To whomever walks around wearing a Manchester United, Barcelona or Bayern Munich jersey and doesn’t know what country those teams are in or who their captain is — you are why sports fans get a bad rap.

For friends of mine, they know I own and wear a Bayern Munich jersey, but unlike the typical bandwagon fan, I like the club because of its legacy and history. I don’t say this with arrogance, but to point out that skill and popularity shouldn’t influence your support and devotion.

And for the clueless bandwagon fan, this is the case.

It’s unfortunate how sports, while beautiful, can be ruined by people who jump on the bandwagon. If a group wants to have a meaningful conversation about sports, it shouldn’t be ruined by someone who is just a massive fanboy or fangirl of a certain player or team.

So here’s my solution.

Indifferent bandwagon fans are okay. They allow for spectators to be entertained while watching a game they really don’t care about. If the team they were pulling for loses, no harm, no foul.

But if you’re a clueless bandwagon fan, here are your options.

1. You could stop liking sports altogether because there’s really no purpose for you to like it anyways.

2. If you’re in denial, then you can take a long, hard look at the decision you’ve made about what team you support. Ask yourself, “Why do I like this team?” If your reasons seem relatively unconvincing, then you’re a bandwagon fan and you stop your “support.”

Those who genuinely like a team would rearrange their schedule if they were playing a meaningful game. And I can guarantee they’d defend their team to anyone until they’re blue in the face. If this is not the case, then do us all a favor and stop faking an allegiance to a team.

There isn’t a place for clueless bandwagon fans in sports.

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Daniel Shulman is a sophomore at Boston University majoring in Journalism through the College of Communication. A native of Stoughton, Dan is a sports fanatic who loves everything Boston sports related. He is currently a Sports Hawk at the Boston Globe in the High School sports department. He is also a statistician for both Men’s and Women’s Soccer and Men’s Ice Hockey. Aside from writing, Dan has an interest in music, movies and cooking.

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