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Greska: Guide to bandwagon fandom

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Andrei Greska

You may have noticed a change in the landscape of Marquette’s campus. It’s not the flowers. It’s not weather. It’s not even the prospective newbies crawling out of the woodwork.

It’s Blackhawks fans.

You know exactly what I’m talking about. The red t-shirts and jerseys with the Indian on the front have replaced the gold fanatics shirt as the most popular garb on Wisconsin Avenue. Towes (Editor’s note: Yes Chicagoans, one of your own spelled Toews ‘Towes’), Kane and Hossa have taken over Wade, Matthews and Butler.

It’s as if they were hibernating for the winter, waiting for the playoffs to begin and then BAM! The wind has changed directions, bringing in all sorts of new fans with it.

I have a confession to make though. I am one of these bandwagon jumpers myself. Ask me what Chicago’s record was this season, and I’d be more likely to solve Greece’s debt crisis than get that answer correct.

Here’s another confession. I’m not ashamed. I love being a fair-weather Blackhawks fan. I get to skip six months of tedious skating and fighting, going straight for the exciting action of Stanley Cup Playoff hockey. It’s like getting to pass over aunt Marge’s meatloaf and diving straight into the molten lava cake brownies. Who’s going to say no to that?

I mean seriously, why do “real fans” care so much whether or not I saw Chicago’s 3-0 loss at Carolina on Oct. 28? Does that make their fandom more legit?

While we’re at it, almost all Blackhawk fans in existence are bandwagon jumpers in some way or another. The team averaged 12,727 fans during the 2006-’07 season.

Tickets were easier to get than a Lindsey Lohan D.U.I. Why weren’t you there? Not to mention that the home games were not televised, so if you didn’t physically go to the game you couldn’t watch it. Isn’t it a good thing more people like your team, or are we living in some hipster utopia?

My name is Andrei Greska, and I am a bandwagon fan. Deal with it.

Bandwagonism — yes, I just made that word up — is a rocking good time when done correctly and isn’t limited to Blackhawk hockey. Here are the four guidelines you must follow to be successful.

1.) Pick a good team

This is the absolute most crucial rule to being a bandwagon fan. What good is it going to do you to root for a team that’s going to suck and won’t be around for longer than a week?

The only exception is if you have previous ties to a team, whether through former playoff runs or city allegiances. In my case, I qualify for both exceptions, seeing as I’m from Chicago and rooted for them as they won their first Stanely Cup in I-have-no-idea-without-looking-this-up years.

Just remember, the better the team the longer you get to have fun.

2.) Make sure you don’t sound like a complete idiot

For the sake of all us true bandwagoners — see what I did there — don’t sully our reputation. We already have to deal with the fact that we are spineless, glory-hogging creatures. We don’t need to add stupid to our description.

Look up the roster before the first game and know who the best player is. That’s really all you need, although you will get bonus points for understanding team dynamics. Most importantly, know the basic rules of the sport you are watching. Don’t be asking about why they only play three “quarters” or why player “X” hasn’t fouled out yet.

3.) Follow through

Once you commit to the cause, you can’t be all fair-weather about it. You already got to skip 80-something games so you have no more free passes. That doesn’t mean you have to watch each game religiously, but at least watch the SportsCenter highlights.

You don’t want to be “that guy” who has to ask the person next to you what happened in last night’s overtime thriller. Trust me, once you are in, it is best to go all in.

4.) Don’t be ashamed

Just because they’ve been watching since the ’Hawks sucked doesn’t make them any better than you. In fact, it makes them kind of stupid for investing so much into it. Fans come in all shapes and sizes, and there is no minimum game requirement to root for a particular team at a particular time.

Be proud and loud and spam people’s Facebook pages with angry/elated/bummed statuses. Don’t let anyone’s high horse get you down.

When they ask where you were the whole season, tell them sorry — you had a life.

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