Now that the smoke has cleared and the tears are almost dried up from a 49er Super Bowl loss, we can address what no successful sports franchise is without: a bandwagon. San Francisco certainly was decorated in much more red last week than it would have been five years ago and yes, this is a result of bandwagoners.
No, I’m not talking about an elaborately decorated wagon used to transport musicians in a parade.
What I’m talking about is a group of people adopting a popular point of view for the primary purpose of recognition and/or acceptance of others, at least according to Urban Dictionary.
I’m a big sports fan, and I understand what being falsely labeled a bandwagoneer is like. I was born and raised a Detroit Red Wings fan thanks to my mom, however, I was born and raised in southern California — two places that just don’t seem to match. If you are truly a fan of the team, you learn to take the irritating accusations and brush it off.
Fortunately for myself, when I get accused of riding the Red Wing bandwagon, I get to counter their accusations with, “Hey, my favorite football team is the Oakland Raiders.” Boy, does that shut them up quickly.
Now, in defense of the people who yelled at me when I was a 12-year-old boy in a Red Wings hat, I can understand where they are coming from. I can maintain a calm demeanor about this whole situation rather than screaming a string of alcohol-fueled profanities.
A lot of sports fans begin their allegiance for a team at a young age, so as corny as it sounds, it becomes a part of them and their lifestyle. It’s why sports fans are crazy when their teams lose; it’s like they were emotionally defeated by a metaphorical concept brought to life through a sports team. So, when a team like the 49ers gain a solid winning streak and random people start rocking the red and instagramming their TV game days, life-long fans are insulted. It’s juvenile, I understand, but unless you’re a sports fan, this may go over your head.
I can guarantee that at the Giants Fan Fest, there were probably fewer fans at AT&T park than during the World Series. Just a biased opinion, the surplus of “fans” during the World Series probably found celebrating a team year round at the aforementioned festival may not be as cool.
If you’re not present during a team’s struggle, why do you get to enjoy in their success? Please stop worshipping Joe Flacco when Eli Manning was your main squeeze a year ago.
But hey, without bandwagoners, that dude in front of the 76 gas station on 19th and Judah probably would not make any money. Knock off souvenir and T-shirt stands depend on that type of fandom. I was in Los Angeles when the Kings won the Stanley Cup last year and thanks to a soulless city who ignored it’s struggles for the past 20 years, an average joe was able to make a profit off of a would-be sports fan who just wants to buy a name, authentic or not.
Yes, a bandwagon does have its financial profits and brings people a sense of belonging, but have some pride even in the losses. When the San Jose Sharks continue to blow their playoff appearances, don’t hide that ugly logo, rock it with a smile.