From harmless jabs to fist fights in bars, being a die hard sports fan these days is a tough business. As a Philadelphia sports fan, I’ve seen it all. Coming from the town that both booed and threw snow balls at Santa, I know how serious things can get. What I’ve noticed lately from the basketball world, and not just in the days following their most recent Championship, is a lot more Golden State gear. Of course sales of the best teams are going to be high, but I wondered just how long so many of these fans have been Warriors fans. I constructed this list to help you find out if you or a friend is indeed a bandwagon or fairweather fan.
Five Signs You Are a Bandwagon or Fairweather Fan
You Frequently Sell Jerseys On Ebay That Are “Slightly Worn”
If you frequently sell jerseys on Ebay that are “slightly worn” you may be a fairweather fan. I get it, maybe you got that jersey as a gift and added a few pounds since Christmas but you decided to rock it to the bar anyways. All the while your friends told you that you looked like a sausage or asked you if you got stung by a bee—”slightly worn” applies here.
Perhaps you have a relative who perpetually sees you at your high school weight. They don’t realize that you are in your late thirties now and have a wife and three children and the gym is a place you vaguely remember from your youth. Yet, you decided to wear that thing to your draft party and your friends kept asking you if you stole your kids jersey. “Slightly worn” applies here as well.
However, if this is the fifth different team jersey you have sold in five seasons and slightly worn pertains to that magical championship run you were so passionate about only a short season or two ago, you may be a bandwagon jumper.
You Don’t Know or Appreciate the History of the Franchise
Here is a very easy litmus test to see if you are a true fan of a franchise: If you are the friend who tells me you had 5 strokes on a hole, yet we all know you had 10, let someone else administer this test please. It is simplistic: If you cannot name about a third of the players from your alleged favorite team, you are not a loyal fan and you may be a bandwagon jumper.
Your Favorite Team Has Changed Every Five to Ten Years
We all have that friend, the guy who has forever altered his favorite team to coincide with the peak of a professional franchise. One of my team-jumping friends actually wore a 49ers jacket with a Dallas Cowboys hat once. It inspired a look that said: “I went on a three-year bender and got these clothes out of a donation box when I sobered up.” These people were 49ers fans in the eighties. They rooted for the Cowboys in the nineties. Now, they never cease talking about the Patriots. They will talk your ear off about the greatness of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick (rightfully so) but, they used to defend Joe Montana and George Seifert with threats of violence. If any of this applies to you or a friend, you or they may be a bandwagon jumper.
Your Closet Looks Like a Close-out Sale at a Sporting Goods Store
If you open your closet door and it spews out a rainbow of colors as if you are watching an episode of the Care Bears, you could be a fairweather fan. Look, there are exceptions to this. I have a friend who simply enjoys watching sports and he enjoys watching more players than others, but he has zero loyalties to any specific team. He follows the players and the entirety of the game. If you own Yankees gear and Red Sox gear that is a problem as they are conflicting ideas and principles. You wouldn’t start a fire with water, would you? If you own a singular Chicago Cubs garment that is less than year old and you claim to be a Cubs fan you may be a bandwagon jumper.
You Talk the Most Trash When “Your” Team Wins
As a Phillies fan, I was four years old when they won the World Series in 1980—far too young to remember. I endured twenty-seven years of heartache through terrible teams and having to watch that dream-crushing bastard Joe Carter round the bases after destroying all hope in Philadelphia in 1993. When your team wins after years of suffering you don’t feel compelled talk noise and throw it in other people’s faces, you want to enjoy the moment. You want to take every ounce of it in because it may be another quarter of a century before you are lucky enough to enjoy it again. This is how you identify someone who has not been there through the struggles with you, who has not had to endure the suffering and heartache, but got a ready-made championship because it is this year’s hot pick by the professionals. Someone who decided to go out, spend money, and throw on that winning team’s colors for this season is not a true fan, they are a bandwagon jumper.
I am not telling anyone what they should be or how they should enjoy sports—do what you like. A fan is more than throwing on a jersey and rooting for a team in the moments it is easy and effortless to root for them. It is finding the strength, love, and admiration to root for them in their years of despair; to suffer along side of them and to support them in their darkest moments; to remain hopeful, however long it has been since their last glory and to show support in their defeats; to put that jersey on regardless of your team’s position in the standings. This is what a fan is. If you haven’t cried at a loss and at a victory with your team you may be a bandwagon fan.
I leave you with a video exemplifying a person we all know.
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