Jump on the bandwagon

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Jump on the bandwagon

Art by Tatum Shore-Fitzgerald.

Art by Tatum Shore-Fitzgerald.

Tatum Shore-Fitzgerald

Art by Tatum Shore-Fitzgerald.

Tatum Shore-Fitzgerald

Tatum Shore-Fitzgerald

Art by Tatum Shore-Fitzgerald.

Tom Mueller, features writer

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Jean ‘Sister Jean’ Dolores Schmidt, the 99-year-old un-official mascot for the University of Loyola-Chicago Ramblers men’s basketball team, became the idol of every bandwagon fan in March. She is the person they strive to be; somebody who becomes relevant without actually knowing much about sports. I know this is a little harsh, but have you heard anything about her since the Ramblers lost? I didn’t think so.  

Bandwagon fans are the ultimate type of fan: their favorite teams never lose, so they never feel sad watching sports. They choose their favorite teams through hours of advanced research on the teams with the most wins in each major sports leagues (Sister Jean has just been a nun at Loyola for decades). Unlike some (most) sports fanatics, they aren’t chained to the lifelong obligation of rooting for the same, local teams. They’re lucky enough to get to switch teams whenever they want, feeling the exhilarating rush that someone must feel from switching teams annually maybe even monthly or weekly, a practice reserved solely for the ‘bandwagon elite’ is the top threshold of satisfaction someone could feel. Even if you climbed Mt. Everest, up and down, all alone, in a quarter of the normal time, you probably wouldn’t feel as happy as you would if you were a bandwagon fan.

Why waste your time cheering for a team that will lose anyway, like when LSU plays Alabama in football?”

Rap icon Drake isn’t internationally famous because of his three Grammy Awards, his $200,000 donation to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts or being the unpaid Global Ambassador for the NBA’s Toronto Raptors. He is most famous for his diehard bandwagon fandom. Although he attends the majority of the Raptors’ home games, he has been gracious enough to spread his sports enthusiasm with fans across the world, from rooting for LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, to rooting for the 2017 World Series winning Houston Astros, to even going on talk shows to praise Johnny Manziel, the first freshman in college football history to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012. There is absolutely no connection between the people Drake roots for and the increased amount of losses they experience (not even Conor McGregor); likewise, no connection exists between bandwagon fans’ favorite teams and how bad they’ve become (not even with the Dallas Cowboys).  Drake’s abilities to team-hop are truly legendary. Lucky for us common people, bandwagonism doesn’t have to be isolated to celebrities. While it might be hard at first (since anti-bandwagon propaganda is popular among sports media like ESPN), hopping between teams becomes easy once you follow the trail-blazed pathways to getting there.

Unfortunately, ESPN doesn’t act alone in criticizing bandwagon fans. Attacks on bandwagon fans, made by the likes of the Washington Post and Bleacher Report, as wanting “instant gratification” and refusing to be “patient, loyal and committed” are hyperbolically inaccurate. Bandwagon fans will support their teams more than anybody else until they are bad. Why waste your time cheering for a team that will lose anyway, like when LSU plays Alabama in football? They get to feel the pride of their favorite team(s) winning all the time, instead of, in some cases, once in a lifetime (looking at you, Cubs fans). If sports are meant to be an escape and source of entertainment, it doesn’t logically make sense to root for the same, terrible teams year after year.

In essence, assimilating to bandwagon standards is easy you just have to follow the best players in each sport around until they retire. For an easy, introspective test, just ask yourself a series of questions: is my next paycheck enough for a Cristiano Ronaldo Juventus jersey, or do I need to sell the Real Madrid one first? Should I have made an extra Kevin Durant fan-page after he joined the record-breaking 73-9 Golden State Warriors team in 2016, or were three enough? How many more letters do I need to write to the Washington Capitals before they give me a job with the franchise? If you aren’t willing to sell-out even more for your favorite teams after answering questions such as those, you clearly don’t have the stamina or capability to be a bandwagon fan. I’m sorry for your loss. Seriously, if obligations like those seem excessively burdensome, how can you possibly be a fan of any team?

Is it okay to be a bandwagon fan?

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