• 73°

Ken’s Column: Being a bandwagon fan is taking the easy way out

Last Sunday, I decided to be a “glutton for punishment” by going to watch the Atlanta Falcons, now 1-7, take on the Seattle Seahawks. As I expected, the Seahawks won the game, but the Falcons were able to make it somewhat interesting by making a comeback of sorts in the second half. Nevertheless, the final score was 27-20 in favor of Seattle.

Having grown up in Stone Mountain, GA, I am one of those long-suffering Falcon fans that have endured, for the most part, season after season of losing football from that team. The ultimate heartbreaker came when the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead and lost to the New England Patriots 34-28 in the Super Bowl a few years ago.

Having gone to many Falcon games, I’ve noticed there are a lot of fans of the Falcons’ opponents at these games. I realize that Atlanta is a city where a lot of transplants have moved to from places such as Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Chicago and other NFL cities and that those fans have brought with them their allegiances to those teams.

At the game last Sunday, there were a lot of Seattle Seahawks fans, but I wonder, are some of these fans just jumping on Seattle’s bandwagon just because they’re winning? I can understand if they have family from the Pacific Northwest or if they have relatives that play for the Seahawks or some other tie to Seattle or Washington State, but to just jump on their bandwagon just because they happen to be consistently winning, to me, is taking the easy way out.

I imagine that most of those Seattle fans that were at the game probably live in Atlanta or live within driving distance to the game and are originally from the Pacific Northwest or have some sort of tie to that area. However, if some of those Seattle fans are rooting for the Seahawks just because they are currently winning, that, in my opinion, is a weak reason to root for that team.

Once the Seahawks, or any other successful team, starts losing (and it will happen), are those bandwagon fans going to then try and find another team that is winning, such as New England? One day, even the Patriots will fall on hard times.

Fans can root for whatever team they want to for whatever reason. We all have choices. However, to root for a team just because they win almost all the time and for no other good reason is, to me, taking the easy way out. Those fans are “fair-weather fans”. It’s easy to be a Patriots fan right now. It’s easy to be a Golden State Warriors fan right now. It’s easy to be a Los Angeles Dodgers fan right now. All three of those teams are consistently winning. On the other hand, it’s very difficult right now to be a fan of NFL teams like the Falcons, the Cincinnati Bengals, the Miami Dolphins and the Washington Redskins. Bandwagon fans won’t cheer for those teams until they start winning consistently.

My point is that if you want to root for and throw your support behind a particular team, have a good, legitimate reason for doing so. I root for the teams that I root for because I have specific ties to those teams. Don’t just do it because they happen to be winning or because it’s “cool and hip” to do so. That’s my opinion. I welcome yours.

Ken Gustafson is the sports editor for the Americus Times-Recorder. To contact him, email him at Ken.gustafson@americustimesrecorder.com or call him at 229-924-2751.