Washington Evening Journal
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Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 22, 2014

Talk with D-Rok: get off the bandwagon

By Derek Helling, Sports Editor | Apr 17, 2014
Photo by: Journal file photo Derek Helling

Those of us who are fans of sports have all met the “bandwagoners.” They are quite possibly the most annoying type of fan. Seemingly overnight, they go from oblivious that the team even existed to becoming the most vocal supporter of a team that has ever walked the face of the Earth despite their obvious lack of experience with and knowledge of the team.
This is not to be confused with a “fair-weather” fan. Fair-weather fans often are very good at staying up to date with what is going on with their favorite team. and can readily name many individuals involved.
The similarity between bandwagoners and fair-weather fans is that a string of success will suddenly bring both types of fan out of nowhere. The difference between fair-weather fans and bandwagoners is easily explained by their handling of their team-specific merchandise.
Fair-weather fans have the T-shirts, hats, auto decals, etc., on hand and are for whatever reason simply waiting to display them until the wins come. The image that comes to mind is a series of doors that open when a person enters the correct security code. When you clear the doors and step through the mist of fog, you see placed on a pedestal under a spotlight in the middle of the otherwise dark room a T-shirt and hat in a climate-controlled container.
Bandwagoners are those fans who go out and buy eight shirts, a lanyard, five hats, a dog leash (for the dog they don’t have) and three different sets of coasters all sporting the team logo all at once.
The ridiculous idea is that by acquiring all the merchandise that a devoted fan would normally acquire over the course of months or years because a devoted fan doesn’t depend on a pair of shorts to prove her/his fanhood, the acquisition of said stuff somehow puts the bandwagoner on equal footing to the devoted fan. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Do you know or are you a bandwagoner? There are a few sure-fire indicators. You might be a bandwagoner if:
The number of T-shirts you own bearing the team logo is greater than the number of players from the team that you can name off the top of your head.
You have had the same roll of toilet paper on the spindle in your bathroom longer than you have known where the team plays their home games.
You’ve watched an episode of Family Ties more recently than you’ve watched an entire game/match that the team has played.
You’re more familiar with the lyrics of Bohemian Rhapsody than you are the history of the team.
If there was a coaching change or other major development, your grandmother who has no computer or smart phone, would find out before you do.
I understand that the temptation to jump on the bandwagon can be strong. I offer a better alternative.
At one point, every devoted fan is new. For many fans it is when they are young, but don’t let age be a deterrent. The better alternative to being a bandwagoner is being a new fan.
The key is to be honest about your newness to being a fan of the team. Do homework about the history and current state of the team. The difference between being a new fan and being a bandwagoner is that you aren’t masquerading as one of the people that has been there for years. Following that philosophy, it won’t be long before you join the ranks of devoted fans.
If you know a bandwagoner, stop encouraging that unproductive behavior by giving it the time of day. Call it what it is and make it clear that you won’t put up with it. Together we can make “bandwagoning” a thing of the past.

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