Recently there’s been a lot of talk about which city has been through the most and a lot of media coverage on Philly’s 100 years of losing.
And to be honest I’m kind of sick of it all.
I'm not necessarily upset about the Philly part, but rather the constant comparisons that we make between cities and how much “suffering” they’ve been through. Not only is suffering impossible to measure, it is rather childish to constantly be comparing it.
It’s like the presidential candidates competing over who had the shittiest childhood. “I grew up in a working class household.” “I grew up on the mean streets of Scranton.” “I lived off of anchovies and cheese whiz for the first 12 years of my life, until I was old enough to get a job working in the coal mines.”
It gets tiresome.
I believe that it has created a new brand of fan known as the “bottom runner.” Now these fans don’t really have the balls to support a team like the Lions or the Bengals, but they will definitely jump on the Cubs bandwagon. Why? Because they know they will get attention.
It’s cool to look like you suffered for your team and when a team is close like the Cubs, they can say that they’ve been through it all and still enjoy the victory when it comes. They would never root for the Lions, because the Lions are years away from a Super Bowl and it's not worth their time. They support well-publicized suffering teams like the Cubs and Rays, just so they can appear to be “real” sports fans and look down on those “fake” sports fans or front-runners; aka anyone who supports a team that has won a title recently.
As a Boston sports fan, I’m a little sick of being looked down upon because I happen to support winning teams. People automatically assume that I’m a front-runner, which is simply not true. I have supported the Celtics, Pats, and Red Sox from birth, and by the way, they didn’t win any titles for the first 12 years of my 18-year-old life.
Now I will concede that Red Sox fans are largely responsible for the phenomenon I described in the first two paragraphs. However, most true Boston fans that I know never tried to make it about who has suffered more. The ones who did were the bottom-runners who jumped on the Sox bandwagon in 2003 and 2004.
Being a good fan is not about how much losing you’ve seen in your lifetime. Why is it that when I wear a Red Sox shirt after they lose, it’s called loyalty, but when I wear one after they win, it’s called arrogance? I have just as much right to enjoy my victories as the true fan of any other team.
Being a good fan is sticking with your team through the good and the bad, watching their games, caring about the outcomes, and generally knowing what’s going on. I know plenty of Red Sox and Yankees fans who do all these things, despite the fact that we’re all bandwagon fans, according to the rest of the country. So I get a little tired of being consistently scorned and written off. The fans of winning teams are victimized, even though we’re not really the enemies.
The real enemies are the countless numbers of bandwagon fans who act like they’re kings of the world when their team wins and totally disown their teams when they lose.
The way to combat these fans is not to “bottom run”. By doing that you’re just creating another bandwagon. The way to combat the bandwagoners is to ignore them. Let them root for who they want to root for and let them think what they want. Pity them, because they don’t really know what they’re missing.