(I’ma do what I want!)
Being in Miami, where “bandwagon” fans were apparently born, I have recently heard too much chatter about how the Heat fans here are terrible, only care when the team is winning, and they are all horrendous people because many left in the team’s 2 blowout home games. All the sports radio talk ( that’s all I listen to in the car because I refuse to listen to 99 Ratchet JAMZ), Twitter feeds and Facebook rants have risen to a loud buzz that is continuing to make noise, even as I watch Game 5 between the Heat and the Spurs. All this chatter got me thinking of fans in general,and everyone’s opinion on who is really a “true” fan.
I’m not even going to bother posting a definition of the word “fan” because everyone has their own idea of what it takes to be one. If I give you any description at all, it would be this: a fan is a person who has a personal, vested interest in a team playing various sports, or also a personal interest in a particular athlete. A fan will “follow” a team or person for various reasons: they were born or live in a city where a team plays, the team they root for is their alma mater, or a particular player they like plays for the team they root for. Now, people think if you proclaim to be a fan of a certain team, you must act in a certain way, mostly with a “ride or die” mentality.
Now trust me, I get it. I mean, I bleed orange and green and represent my alma mater, the “U” at all times- I even have a tattoo. But I also know that I can show my appreciation and love for my team any way I can. I can also express my frustrations when I want, and how I want. If I am expected to be there to cheer for my team, why am I not also allowed to be upset and critique them as well? People pay good money to see athletes run up and down a court, field, and rink- they should also expect nothing but the best effort from their team. If they don’t get it, they have the right to act out- this doesn’t make then any less of a fan than anyone else.
Oh, and A FAN IS STILL A FAN, EVEN IF THEY LEAVE A GAME EARLY: How many times have you heard this: “You’re not a real (insert team here) fan if you leave the game before it’s over. I have heard this argument way too much in the last few days here in Miami. We actually get it all the time down here, for other sports as well. People act as if fans never left a game in any other city in the country due to bad play or frustration. Let’s get one thing straight here- the only reason the country may witness so many games where Heat fans leave early is because NOBODY ELSE’S TEAM IS ON TV THAT MUCH. Miami has the best player in the world and they’ve been to the Finals 4 years in a row- of course you’re going to see more of their fans possibly leaving the arena than someone leaving a Celtics game. Newsflash people- fans have left games early for every professional athletic team in the United States. But let’s be real, how many Chicago Cubs games are featured on ESPN? Not many.
And by the way, I was at Game 4 in Miami where patrons were leaving early. In fact, I was actually one of them and I will tell you why. First of all, I’ma do what I want. Second, I’ma do what I want! Seriously, whose business is it anyway what someone else chooses to do? First of all, there was no indication that the team even wanted to play this game, so if there is no effort on their part, why should I? Even as a “fan” of a team, if said team is getting blown out all game, and they don’t even look like they are capable of a run because the point guard can’t even pass half court in less than 7 seconds, why can’t I get a leg up on the traffic? It doesn’t make me less of a fan because I choose to leave a bad situation. Did you ever stop to think about the fan that doesn’t want to witness utter disappointment, especially from their team that has made it to 4 straight NBA Finals appearances? If the last time the Heat led in the game was when it was 2-0, and your star players look like hot garbage and refuse to get an offensive rebound, why would I want to witness a half-ass job? Why does that make me, or any other person, less of a fan? Would you rather I wait until the clock dwindles down to 00:00 in the 4th quarter so I can now be pissed off while I race thousands of other people to get into a total of 7 elevators, to then reach my car parked in the world’s worst garage, so I can cry in my car for 45 additional minutes? The outcome will still be the same if I leave like I did with 5:39 minutes to go when it was 91-71, in favor of the Spurs- I’ll just get to the beach quicker.