On bandwagoners

Hey, guys. I’m sorry for my rather prolonged absence – I’ve been struggling to keep up with everything in RL as well as battling a bout of serious depression, so I haven’t really had the energy to update this blog like I’ve wanted to.

I want to talk about Barcelona and their fate next season. (Hint: I will not be calling for Vilanova to get fired, nor will I be recommending that everyone other than Messi, Iniesta, and Busquets get sold.) However, I’m going to leave that for next time and instead talk about a term I hear tossed around a lot, especially these days: bandwagoners.

I sympathize with people who use it: I really do. I get as annoyed by fickle fans with no knowledge of the club who call for a mass exodus after a bad run of form as the next football fan.

However, I find the underlying concept behind the term to be equally problematic. It’s tossed around to put down new fans, who have committed the grave crime of not falling in love with a team when they were awful, or not having been around when the team fell on hard times.

That’s not fair, and it speaks to a real elitism that I think is dangerous and exclusionary.

Everyone needs to start somewhere. A new fan to the sport is unlikely to be drawn to a team that plays poorly and is relegation-threatened. A new fan to the sport is likely to be drawn to a team that is fun to watch and has a style of play that they find attractive.

There is nothing inherently wrong with that.

What’s the alternative? That the person not get into the sport at all, or that they only be allowed to like inconsistent teams or teams that are poor? That doesn’t make any sense. When teams begin to play well, more people will be drawn to them. That’s just how human nature works: people like to be impressed.

Under my influence, my boyfriend has begun to get really into football. He’s not under my influence enough that he’s especially fond of the Spanish league, but he’s begun watching games on his own, and from what he’s seen, he’s become very drawn to Borussia Dortmund. He likes their style of play, and he likes watching them.

I am happy that he is getting into football, and I am happy that he has found a team that he really likes watching after spending two months of not feeling all that drawn to anyone. I don’t think that he should be shamed or feel bad for that. He found a team that he enjoys, and at the end of the day, football is about enjoying yourself, not being able to win a pissing contest for who’s the most hardcore fan.

Will he stick with BVB? I’m not sure. He may end up finding another team that he likes more. He may end up finding as he watches more of BVB, he doesn’t like them quite as much as he thought he did. He may even just get fed up of having to find streams or be at my place to watch their league games, since he doesn’t have access to the Bundesliga right now. I don’t know.

But either way, there’s nothing wrong with that.

New fans are annoying when they call for major changes based on very little experience and education about the team. New fans are annoying when they call for someone’s head on a platter because everything isn’t perfect all the time.

That’s not because they’re new fans. It’s because they’re impatient, uneducated, and think that they know everything anyway.

I wish they were just called on that, rather than for being new to the sport.


2 responses to “On bandwagoners

  1. I couldn’t agree with you more.

    Your boyfriend may have to find a new club when BvB is gutted this summer though 😛

    I also don’t think Tito should be fired. In fact, I think he somewhat deliberately (with the line-up) tanked the 2nd leg home match against Bayern so that EVERYONE at the club and the fans could see the weak links in Barca’s current side. He’s prepping for the summer transfer… But making it to the CL semis and winning the league is not a bad showing at all, especially when you consider the records broken along the way while the head coach had cancer.

    The biggest problem for our CL run this year was not our talent or technique but our players’ injuries. I think Bayern are an incredible team but a full-force Barca would’ve AT LEAST given them a much tougher draw. I think we need to strengthen our wings and our defense but the core of our team is still fully functional and will continue to be.

    Great article. Hope you’re not TOO depressed.

    • I know! I feel so bad for him that just as he starts to get attached to a club, it gets gutted. He’s been getting progressively more dismayed.

      Re: Barcelona in the CL – I actually think that while injuries were part of the problem, another significant part of it has been the psychological state of the players. I go into this a bit more in my most recent post, but I think that not enough attention has been given to the emotional toll cancer has taken on them. Abidal had it and beat it. Vilanova had it and beat it. That was difficult but inspiring. Now, though, both Abidal and Vilanova have had to fight it again. At least for me, the relapses are more exhausting and disheartening than the initial battle, because it can leave you feeling like it’s just never going to be over.

      I don’t know if that’s how they’re feeling, but I do know that you can’t see that and not be affected.

      Next season, though, we will definitely be back.

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