’Toss more salads than Emeril Lagasse’, oh Mr. Simmons, you eloquent wordsmith, you!
What would I add to the list, Rachit? Well, not much. I think the distinction between ‘bandwagoner’ and ‘true fan’ comes from people’s tendencies to categorize and label others. Scales are hard, labels are easy – especially when the people who do the labelling are the ones who reap the satisfaction of being morally superior.
How many times have you heard this exchange on the streets:
This car is purple brah!
You’z whack, that’s magenta fool!
If only these homies would properly define a wavelength range!
Have you ever heard of the ‘I know it when I see it’ supreme court ruling about porn and art? In 1964, Justice Potter Stewart described what constitutes as obscene or not. He famously wrote ‘I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description [“hard-core pornography”]; and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it.’ I think the same would apply here (and in many other dichotomies). Coming up with a strict dividing line is next to impossible, but everyone is positive they can tell purple from magenta!
Take locality, for instance. Many Torontonians cheer for teams that are not Toronto-based (for a variety of reasons). If you ask these same people if they would be willing to cheer for the USA or some other country in international sports (where Canada is competing), that’s completely out of the question. Why is this? The geographical distinction is just as arbitrary. What difference does it make whether you’re in a different city or a different country?
With his usual eloquence, Bill Simmons equates bandwagon hoppers to child molesters in prison. I think the more appropriate analogy is that of a person who has a new sexual partner every time they get bored of the old one (sorry, I tried to find a good word for this but couldn’t. Womanizer seems wrong.) Our society values fidelity, and life-long fans are like life-long sexual partners. Their dedication is a sign of purity, of moral fortitude. Maybe when you’re 18 you can cheer for ten different NFL teams, but when you’re 60, well, then it’s just sad. People even have similar stories of when they first met their loved one or when they first started cheering for their favourite team.
Maybe sports team divorce should become more socially acceptable. Would you file for divorce with any of your teams?
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