And I had no intention of writing a blog of any sort this week, but something irked me tonight while on Facebook.
For those that know me on here, you know I have an odd set of favorite teams....Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Lakers, and the Duke Blue Devils for college basketball. I don't follow baseball or hockey enough to root for a team.
Now, I'm from a small town in central Indiana. A lot of my friends from high school are attending Butler University. Add on that the their starting center, Matt Howard, is from my hometown and 90% of my friends on Facebook are Butler fans. I consider myself an avid Butler fan, but all these friends see is that I'm a Duke fan.
Tonight, both Butler and Duke were playing. Around halftime of the Butler game, there were numerous posts about the Butler game, one they were losing by double digits. I have jokingly commented on one of their status' "Duke's up by 30. Just saying"
I was immediately blasted with talks of bandwagoning, rooting for teams that just win, and rooting for teams who don't have heart but just talent. And this irked me for a couple reasons. But I need to explain my reasoning for said teams first
Growing up, my father and mother neither followed sports outside of NASCAR. So, unless you consider Jeff Gordon an athlete, I wasn't a fan of any athlete or sport. In fact, I was more enthralled with WWF than anything else. I was the most avid fan you've seen until the age of about 10 or 11. I seriously watched no other sport up until that point.
The first sporting memory I can recall is the Super Bowl between the Titans and Rams and honestly, the only thing I remember from that game is the last play. So, for about a 3 or 4 month period, I became infatuated with the Titans. It didn't last mainly because of the offseason and not being able to watch them.
That following spring, I was flipping through channels between commercials of Monday Night Raw and found a basketball game. I watched the two teams a little bit and really liked the blue team - mainly because my favorite color was blue. I didn't know either team and certainly didn't know their past, present, or what their future held. However, I liked that blue team and rooted for them the rest of the game. That blue team turned out to win the game. I vowed to watch that blue team more and more as they played.
Patience - or lack thereof - got the better of me again. I never followed the team because, at that age, The Rock was cooler.
However, between those two Duke games, I had found another team I began to grow fond of.
The only time I had been exposed to sports was when I went to my uncles house. He was an avid Lakers fan (I couldn't tell you why) and he would talk about them to his brother (not my father) while I listened. That June, the Lakers played the Pacers and it drew a lot of attention. Allow me to give you one more short story
For those that don't know me, which is all of you, I'm a big boy. Right now, I stand at 6'2, 300+ pounds. I've always been a big kid, so when I was playing basketball in elementary, I was called "Baby Shaq."
Back to the original story. I knew Shaq played for the Lakers, but I knew the Pacers were from Indiana. I watched a couple games, but secretly rooted for the Lakers. The Lakers won and I was happy, but Raw was still on and I didn't pay much attention to the teams after that.
However, this sport watching sparked my interest. I began watching Sportscenter more and more. Around that time, Randy Moss was still on the Vikings and causing all sorts of headlines. For some reason, I drew a liking to this Moss guy and began rooting for him and his team.
Soon, however, Moss was traded. I had to make a decision: root for Moss or stick with the Vikings. As you can tell, I stuck with the Vikings.
These three stories describe the ways I came about rooting for the said teams. I rooted for them all from those points on - through the Love Boat Scandal, Kobe's rape charges, and Duke Lacrosse's rape charges.
All of them had their down years. The Vikings continually choke year after year. The Lakers completely dismantled their team to see how far Kobe could take them when he was given 3 scrubs and Lamar Odom as his teammates. And Duke choked through the Redick years and then hit a huge bottom when ousted by VCU in the first round of the NCAA tourney (by the way, I still hate Eric Maynor).
Is it my fault that all three teams hit their best moments in recent memory in the span of a couple years? How could I control that the Lakers win 2 titles and make 3 Finals, Duke wins the 2010 NCAA title, and the Vikings make the NFC Championship game all within 3 years? I had rightfully rooted for them as I grew up. Is it my fault my parents were sports fans and I simply rooted for the teams I was exposed to?
Which brings me back to current day. I obviously can't describe this story to all my friends. And if I could, I doubt many of them would care. I most certainly don't consider myself a band wagoner as I never once rooted for a team because they were good or because they were having a good season. And I rooted for every team through good and bad. I certainly think that I'm neither a band wagoner nor a fair-weather fan.
That brought me to another question: at what point is someone not a band wagoner? Is there a set time that they need to be a fan before they lose the band wagoner title?
These same friends that are calling me a band wagoner are all also Colts fans who haven't truly had to suffer through a bad year.
I don't think any child is really a fan until about the age of 10 or so. There are exceptions, but let's use this as a basis. And wouldn't you know it, in 2001, they Colts finished 6-10 and haven't won less than 12 games since.
So what makes them any less of a band wagoner than me? They are rooting for a local team, but it's no coincidence this team has been the most consistent team in the league over that time.
They're worst season? A couple of first round exits in the playoffs.
And I kid you not, I had a friend tell me these exact words when discussing whether I was a band wagoner...
well your version of sucking is obviously different from mine.. because 10-6 records aren't exactly stellar.
I literally laughed out loud. In the last 9 years, which is the time I've been a Vikings fan, they have produced two seasons of equal to or more than 10 wins and have made the playoffs just twice. The Colts haven't missed the playoffs in that same time period and have been to two Super Bowls, winning one of them.
I brought up how spoiled Colts fans our with Peyton Manning. All my friends have never rooted for anyone other than Peyton Manning and he is arguably the greatest QB of all-time. They've had some of the best management and head coaches in the game. When's the last time you wrote the Colts drafted a bust? Or made a bad trade? A bad signing? Yeah it doesn't happen. What about the Colts make a bad play call that cost them the game? Doesn't happen.
A friend rebutted with...
so colts fans are spoiled? what about you with kobe? that's a little spoiled
I didn't reply to that comment because the argument had went on long enough, but Kobe and Peyton aren't on the same level
Kobe had rape allegations. He had rough times to follow him through. He's hated by everyone. You had rough patches during his career where any fan could have left him and it been accepted.
But the biggest is simply the skill level. When NFL Network released their top 100 player rankings, Peyton was listed 8th, and he's certainly not done playing.
Kobe is still argued for being top 10 overall. Peyton is a shoo-in for top 10 and cracks the top 5 in a lot of people's rankings.
Personally, it gets very annoying constantly batting down constant band wagoner allegations and certainly when it comes from Colts fans. I'm eager to see how supportive these Colts fans are when Manning retires and they enter a period of mediocrity for a while.
So this is a personal letter to all Colts fans. Don't talk to me about being a band wagoner until you're team suffers a couple years. Then we'll talk. I have paid my dues as a sports fan and will gladly continue rooting for my teams