Friday, August 29, 2008

When Bandwagonning Goes Wrong

I had a conversation with a good friend of mine recently and predictably, our dialogue ended up on basketball. Now this friend of mine, much like yours truly, is a die-hard fan of the game. He once called himself the greatest New York Knicks fan – a title I completely found unenviable.
We’ve spent countless hours debating about our favorite team, figuring out how to improve our team’s fortunes with otherworldly trade ideas and ridiculous free agent signings. Since our little game was devoid of any salary cap restrictions, all the ideas – ludicrous as they are – were fair game.

“I’ll trade for Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler for Stephon Marbury and a bag of peanuts,” he once said. I couldn’t blame for his attempt at the trade since CP3 and TC are two of the leagues up-an-coming stars whereas Stephon Marbury is most famous these days for his bizarre television interviews and a tattoo of his official logo on his head. “Hey, at least New York peanuts are delicious,” he retorted. Those were his trade ideas. Anything to improve the Knicks dreadful standing as league laughingstock, I thought.

Then, in one of our more recent conversations, he said something that completely caught me off guard.

KG: James Posey - New Orleans Hornet
KG: We’re going all the way, baby!
Air-nest: Hopefully, Pose can help the Hornets reach the 2009 Finals...
Air-nest:... and then get crushed by my Celtics!

Wait a second...your Celtics?! The

I vainly tried to wrestle an answer from him. In sports, it’s an unwritten rule that if you’re from New York, the last city you want winning a sports championship is Boston, and vice versa. There’s a detailed history of sports rivalries between those two cities that has transcended sports and has become a way of life.

“You don’t root for a Boston team if you live in New York!”

He smiled and said, “Well, the Knicks suck and the C’s are relevant again so might as well ‘lend my support them’ to them, right?”

Then it hit me. My friend – the man who once said Hubert Davis was his favorite player of all time – is a bandwagon fan.

“Nobody wants to root for losers”, he told me.

While I sympathized with his plight (the Knicks really do suck), it made his case as a bandwagon fan all the more convincing. The moment Kevin Garnett signed with Boston last year, that’s all he talked about. He even made a bet with another friend of ours – and a fellow New York Knicks fan – that the Celtics would win the championship.

I have nothing against bandwagon fans. They are free to choose which team to root for – even if they switch allegiances every few days, depending on how said teams are doing in the standings. I’m not even worried about offending him with this. We’ve thrown worse verbal lobs at each other that I’m confident that he’ll take this with a grain of salt and laugh about it. I venture a guess that he’ll even be the first to comment.

I just find it hard to believe that out of all the teams that he could’ve jumped on the bandwagon, out of all the teams he could’ve ‘lent his support’ to, it had to be a team from Boston.

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