The Dangers of Excessive Fandom
There are few things sweeter for a sports fan than to watch their team make it to the playoffs. Players and fans wait the entire season in hopes of gaining bragging rights over the other teams fanbases. But is it possible to be too devoted to a team? Yes, and here’s why:
As a Golden State Warriors fan since middle school, I endured the ups and downs that come with a franchise that consistently fails to make the postseason. I realize this may be hard to sympathize with now given the team’s recent success, but GSW was so far off the map of basketball relevance that the most casual fan was more likely to think of Steph Curry as an injury-prone player with a girl’s name than the greatest shooter of all time.
In the adolescence of my fandom, I would try to watch literally every game during the season, which equates to a lot of time in front of the tube. It can be frightening to look back at old habits, but this is particularly cringe-worthy. Some people may not see anything wrong with watching every game; they may even think that it’s the only way to be a “true fan”. But the problem is that watching just one game is a 1.5–3 hour commitment. This adds up to a fairly significant part of your life over time.
Why It’s OK to Be a Bandwagoner
One of the unsaid rules of being a sports fan is allegiance to one team, and with this comes the expectation to dislike any other team in the league. Now let’s say you like a particular player, and want to root for him and his team to succeed. Unfortunately this kind of fandom is chagrined, and one must be prepared to engage in long debates about why their player is great. I’m referring to the four ‘major’ sports, (football, basketball, baseball and soccer), as these are the most televised and easily trackable.
Lebron James is easily the most polarizing player to be a fan of. I am a fan of LBJ who, by looking past his departure from Cleveland and his tattoo vanity, enjoys his basketball talent. Holding this point of view attracted much criticism when I rooted for the Miami Heat to win at the start of the “big 3” era. I was told that one cannot be a true NBA, or Warriors fan, if I was rooting for another team. My response is, “says who”?
There is no official fan rulebook. I like to think much of this vitriol originated from the manner in which Lebron left Cleveland, but that’s another conversation. This idea that there is such a thing as a “true fan” cracks me up to a point, but gets old when trying to have an honest conversation with other fans about events that happen during the season.
I see nothing wrong with being a fan of multiple teams, and it’s not a crime to like a team because of one player. I encourage sports fans to bandwagon all they want because, after all, professional leagues exist for entertainment purposes and there are no rules on how to enjoy any sport. So go ahead and become a fan of the Cavaliers now that Lebron is on the team again, but don’t be afraid to admit that you liked the Heat when he was in South Beach either.