Bandwagon fans are annoying

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Bandwagon fans are annoying

Dalton Counts | @DaltonCounts11, Staff Columnist

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This October, the Atlanta Braves broke my heart. Obviously, this is hyperbolic and I am being a dramatic 19-year-old, but their October collapse absolutely did hurt me. I have invested in this baseball team ever since I was 4 years old. I have watched division titles, rebuilding years and exciting young players come up through the system. I have never watched a playoff series victory. I have watched heartbreak in 2010, 2012, 2018, and most recently, 2019. I can only dream about what it might be like to irresponsibly stress about my team playing in the National League Championship Series. If anyone deserves to see the Braves advance in the playoffs, it is me, so I couldn’t help but get partially annoyed at all the sudden baseball maniacs surrounding me this summer. Those new Ronald Acuna Jr. jerseys were everywhere, and I know these guys were not reading about the stud outfielder in 2015 like I was. 

These blatant bandwagon fans have no business clinging on to the success that I suffered for during the rebuilding process. While it sounds ridiculous, any true fan will tell you they feel like their team’s victories are directly correlated to their own devotion. This October, I was simply annoyed with all the people who suddenly put a picture of Ozzie Albies on their Instagram story in late September to prove they were a fan of a good team. These are the same people who randomly loved hockey when the Nashville Predators were good. I am not a hockey fan, and I can’t really tell you if the franchise is currently successful, but I assume they aren’t because these annoying bandwagon fans aren’t talking about them much anymore.

Earlier this month, I watched the fallout of another Braves collapse in the NLDS: the division rival Washington Nationals sweeping their way into the World Series. During this dark time in my life, I decided that maybe I should be less vexed with fake enthusiasts. The more I think about it, all humans do this with a variety of things. While sports are the most pertinent example, you and I pick up random things all the time. This could be a new band that our friend recommended or even something as simple as something new off Chick-Fil-A’s menu. 

This happens because humans have a need to feel important. Despite the spiritual or moral reluctance you may have toward this, this obligation drives almost all of our actions. When someone “jumps on the bandwagon” of a sports team, that said team is usually successful at that time. Few pledged loyalty to the 2016 Atlanta Braves, who finished last in the division with 93 losses. Instead, we like to attach ourselves to whatever is “in” at that moment. Often, people like to follow a team that wins. Winning solves a lot of problems, and your team winning makes you feel important. I am not sure of the “human nature” argument around this, but I know I get a sense of pride whenever I remember what happened early January 9, 2018. This fall, many “fans”  – who obviously were unaware of the Atlanta sports curse – decided that they would feel important when the Braves beat the Cardinals and had a memorable October. Now, these same people are folding up their twice-worn jerseys and stowing them away till the Braves make the playoffs again. Soon, they will be on to the next team, artist or whoever gives them a sense of meaning. 

While being a bandwagon fan is annoying, it is understandable. After all, I am absolutely a bandwagon Duke basketball fan. In fact, last year was the first time I watched more Alabama basketball than Duke basketball (and let me tell you, it was a disappointment). So, try to ignore the natural animosity you have toward the sublunary fans in your life. While they are annoying, you have to realize that you do it, too.