First off, Aaron Rodgers is fucking great. I have a friend who has “Aaron Rodgers shaped cheese” in her fridge, which seems weird but completely appropriat
But the bandwagon question is a good one. Is it fair to the diehard fans if I root for a team only when it succeeds? Isn’t part of loyalty being dedicated through good seasons and bad?
A friend I grew up with, Conor, always gave me a hard time for being a bandwagon Red Sox fan. And he wasn’t wrong. I only watched the Sox seriously once they made it into the playoffs; Conor caught as many games as he could, starting with preseason. But let me tell you: that’s a lot of fucking games, especially for a sport where the early season matters very little. I just can’t commit to that much baseball.
Naturally, a lot of folks in Boston take the Red Sox too seriously. Or at least I think so. While I was studying abroad, I took a couple weeks to travel around Western Europe with my friend Joe, who was notorious for claiming that the only thing he cared about more than “pussy” was the Red Sox (his words!). The Sox were in the World Series while we were wandering around Florence, and all Joe could talk about was how he was having regrets about studying abroad in Europe when he could’ve been watching the Red Sox.
We couldn’t find a place to watch any of the games, but even if we had, we would just be watching alone. This sort of gets back to my original point. I like sports because I like the excuse to yell, to be passionate about something that carries very little weight in my life. That’s probably why I’m a bandwagon sports fan — who wants to cheer for a team when no one is cheering?
Maybe I’m missing something though. Is it more satisfying to follow a team through their entire season and see them take home a championship? More importantly, is that experience worth it?
Since I’ve gotten more into sports over the past year, this question has become very (VERY) important to me. There’s only one team from my native Colorado I could never root against, the Avalanche of the NHL, who supplied me with childhood memories and heroes. Even though the Broncos won their Super Bowls when I was at an impressionable age, I feel no connection to them, and the Rockies and Nuggets stank when I was younger, so I barely even paid attention to those guys. Sure, I’ll bandwagon hard for a Colorado team if they’re hot, but otherwise I have no interest in hitching my emotional wagon to mediocre stars.
But, as you say, sports are fun because you get to care passionately about something meaningless, so I need to root for someone. How do I choose?
I’m currently most into the NBA, so I’ll use that as my example.
Based on a hypothetical and surprisingly emotional tournament I just played out in my head, here are my favorite teams, in order of who I’d root for if they played each other:
So what do these teams have in common?
For one, they’re all led by great, exciting, likable, slightly sub-mainstream MVP candidates (Durant, Rondo, Rose, STAT, respectively). I like it when players I feel strongly about do incredible things, and these guys deliver reliably.
Second, they all have playoff aspirations, but carry the air of slight underdogs. (I know this doesn’t sound right for the Celts, seeing how they came a quarter away from the championship last season, but their bad beat then and surprising defiance of their old age this year give them the edge I’m looking for.) It’s fun to cheer for teams that have a shot at winning it all, but aren’t quite the favorite. Otherwise, you’re fixing to either get your hopes dashed, or you’re basically rooting for Wal-Mart, Microsoft, or the Yankees.
Third, I’ll admit that, being a recent convert to the NBA, I’m probably caught up in the hype a little, since all of these teams are kinda media darlings. I’m fine with this.
I’m not saying these criteria are how you or anyone else should choose teams. Rather, and I know this might sound like heresy to people who only root-root-root for the home team, I think it’s smart to buy into teams that suit your aesthetic preferences. I’m having so much fun watching basketball this year because “my” teams are good now and they play the kind of ball I want to watch. It sure as hell beats pretending to care as the apathetic Nuggets slouch around the court, waiting for their star player to leave them.
So basically you should root for the Packers because they’re fucking rad, Aaron Rodgers is crazy good (or is that crazy/beautiful?), and all of America loves them. I mean, there’s really nothing wrong with jumping on the bandwagon, is there?
I figured out why I enjoy watching sports: I really like yelling. We root for the same teams, mostly, so you can probably agree that yesterday was a disappointing day for football. The Seahawks were (predictably) stomped by the Bears, but the biggest shocker was the Patriots’ loss to the Jets. I was mad. MADDD!!!!
But being mad is part of the fun. I think sports are great because it lets you be completely invested in something that, in a lot of ways, doesn’t matter. Did I mention yelling? There’s drinking and yelling too. YELLLIINNNNGGG!!!!!
I’m originally from Boston — arguably the sports capital of the country (and less debatably the Dunkin Donuts capital). But as a Seattle transplant, I wondered which team I was supposed to care more about — the Patriots or the Seahawks? Which is my home team? WHO AM I SUPPOSED TO ROOT FOR?? WHOOOO?????????????????????