Sports fans make sports not fun. The fandom surrounding sports can be related to a group of elitists. Much like music snobs who judge every music choice mostly based on them believing they’re more of a fan, the superior fan. Sports fans will throw out verbal jabs based on your choice of favourite team or player. No matter if you habitually watch a sport or not, they have one phrase equipped specifically to sling at you: bandwagon jumper.
There are many levels of sports fandom. The casual fan will tune in and keep updated with a home team and/or describe themselves as very mild and dedicate a lot to their favorite teams.
There are fans who will support a team by wearing their merchandise but may not watch a game at all in a season. This may seem blasphemous to any hardcore fan.
Then there is the intensely dedicated sports fan. The type of fan who would skip going to the bathroom to watch one final period of a hockey game. These fans can suck the air out of any type of fan based on their knowledge and opinion on a sport or team.
Competition is the main aspect of all sports. It’s about a group or individual player aiming to beat their opponent. This characteristic of a sport carries over to fans. They often think their team or favourite player is the “winner,” the only choice.
Don’t get me wrong: I have many friends and acquaintances who fit into each realm of the sports fan spectrum. Yet, based on personal experience, I feel this is what can drive someone away from being a fan. Sports are so unpredictable; it’s not easy being a sports fan. For that reason, there is no such thing as a “bad fan”.
I haven’t always had sports in my life. I mean, I’ve kept up to date, but not religiously. As a very large human being, I’ve always played sports and that (like most people) drew me towards becoming a fan. I went through a lull in high school and only started re-informing myself with what was going on in the world of sports over the last couple years. This year, I got back into the NFL. Last time I was a fan, Marshawn Lynch was not given the ball at a pivotal point in the Super Bowl while playing for the Seahawks. When I started watching again, I gravitated towards a player that I enjoyed: Lynch and the Oakland Raiders. This gave me the playful “bandwagon” label from friends, but was it playful? This made me wonder.
Would billion-dollar leagues like the NFL, NBA and NHL care about why someone delves into their sports? Hell, if they buy merch just to buy merch, they don’t care. In most cases, they make money and they increase their fan base. Why don’t super fans take pride in this? Some would label a person wearing their teams jersey as not a fan. Yet, them brandishing this team shows support. If one watches the Super Bowl while the commentator spits out facts about the dynasty that is Tom Brady and the Patriots, then suddenly becomes a fan, isn’t that good for the sport? Everyone has a starting point to become a fan. Who cares when it was or who it is they’re a fan of?
The bandwagon effect has turned into a word to slander fans in the sports world. At the end of the day, if you are a fan of a sport, that’s your choice. Liking a certain sport, team or player is subjective. Their stats might be the best, but you enjoy their swagger. You can do that. Don’t be calling me a bandwagon jumper because I enjoy the Skittle loving Lynch.
Tre Lopushinsky, Sports Co-Editor