I watched the Tampa Bay Lightning win the Stanley Cup in 2004 but I realized something was missing at the same time. It took some time but I realized that I didn’t have much passion for the sport, or my favorite team, back then. I felt like that needed to change so the year immediately following the lockout I went to my first game. I enjoyed it; not just because of the guys (though that’s always a bonus) but also because of the fast pace and the intensity. It’s a sport truly like no other. This is why I stuck by the Bolts through all those losing seasons and now, in the midst of yet another difficult season, I am still sticking by the team.
Regardless of the fact I stick by the team and will do that until the day I die, I am also going to get angry if I see sloppy play. If I see a goaltender, or a defense, or an offense for that matter, giving a game away I will let them know my displeasure. Contrary to popular belief, voicing my displeasure with how my team is playing does NOT make me a bandwagon fan. It just shows that I know the team can do better than what they show on a particular night.
I also don’t think that you’re a bandwagon fan if you only praise the team when they win. After all, wins produce points, points improve playoff positioning and every point, or two, you let get away could be points you wished you had when all is said and done. No one wants to be left out of a playoff race; that’s why EVERY POINT MATTERS!
Finally, I will say that not all fans that leave games early because they get bad are bandwagoners. Yes, the majority are but there are also those who aren’t. Some people leave early because they have a long commute; we have many fans who travel from Orlando; and have to work the next morning. Those people probably don’t want to sacrifice their job, or their sleep, just to watch their team once they realize there’s very little chance of a comeback.
In conclusion, it doesn’t matter when you became a fan, nor does the way you react to wins, losses, sloppy play, etc matter as to whether you’re a true fan or a bandwagoner. What matters is that, no matter what you might say or do, you ALWAYS stick by your teams side, through thick and thin, good and bad. As long as you do that you’re a TRUE fan; no ifs,ands or buts about it.
You can follow Lauren Burg @TBLightning491 and Bolts by the Bay @Boltsbythebay on Twitter.