Ten tips if you're jumping on a bandwagon   

Updated: June 19, 2008, 9:20 PM ET

  • Comment
  • Email
  • Print
  • Share

The NBA season is over. Two great fan bandwagons met in the Finals, and only one came out on top, ready to add extra seats and a second deck for all the new riders.

Cubs fans

AP Photo/John Bazemore

Looks like fun to be a Cubs fan, doesn't it? Well, follow DJ's tips, and jump on the bandwagon!

Now baseball season is in the spotlight. And with midseason quickly approaching, it is time for many of the unscrupulous among us to decide to which team we will attach ourselves like a barnacle to a whale. Will people flock to an old favorite like the Red Sox? Or how about the upstart Rays? Why not the Cubs? Not only do they have the best record in the National League, but they provide the added allure of letting a bandwagon jumper pretend he has suffered through 100 seasons without a title.

So, fancy a bandwagon jump? Here are 10 steps to doing it right:

1. Pick your bandwagon
It goes without saying that you first have to search for an appropriate bandwagon to jump onto. So look high. Look low. Actually, just look high. You are a bandwagon jumper, after all -- only the teams at the top of the standings should be attractive to you.

2. Stock up on gear
If you are going to be a respectable bandwagon fan, you need to have all the coolest new team-logo apparel. T-shirts, hats, beach towels, drink cozies -- all of it. Think twice about dropping $150 on an official team jersey, however. You'll wish you had that money back when you inevitably leap off this bandwagon and latch onto another one in a few months. Bandwagon-jumping requires measured financial investment. If you spend too much, you might feel tied to a team even when it starts losing. Yuck!

Also, never, ever, ever, under any circumstances, get a team-logo tattoo. Remember, you are a bandwagon fan. You might feel caught up in the excitement now, that this is finally the team you will stay with forever. But you are wrong. You will stray again. And there is no going back from a tattoo. Somewhere in Alaska, there is a sad man walking the streets, stuck forever with a tattoo he got on his chest in 1993, of the Charlotte Hornets' logo.

3. Get the family involved
Now that you are plastered with team apparel, it's time to get the wife and kids on board as well. You'll want to get the Mrs. a pink team shirt. A pink hat, too. Maybe even a jean jacket with the team logo on the back in rhinestones. Classy! Junior also will need some gear, like T-shirts, a bib and a hat. Remember: Jumping on a bandwagon can be a wonderful experience for the entire family. An opportunity like this might not come along for several more months!

4. Create a connection
Deep down, even the biggest bandwagon fans know they are spineless, depraved sorts. That's why they feel the need to invent some sort of lifelong bond to their current team of choice. You need to do the same, so that when you are pushed by skeptics as to why you suddenly root for Team X from 3,000 miles away, you can say: "What?! I have been a fan since I was a kid. You see, it all began when … ." And then you throw in some concocted story about loving the team since before you even escaped the womb.

For instance, if you feel like being Member No. 37,465,989 on the Boston Red Sox bandwagon, try this: "I am not a bandwagon Red Sox fan! My relatives are originally from Massachusetts. I still have family there." And then, just don't mention that you are referring to the pilgrims as your relatives and America as your family.

5. Research, Part 1: Get the basics
Jumping on a bandwagon requires due diligence. So flip on a sports radio show from your new team's home city and listen for 15 minutes. You'll soon know who is totally awesome and who is a disgrace and should be immediately released/traded/fired. Now you are sufficiently informed! Feel free to share your new knowledge freely. And loudly.

Ryan Theriot

AP Photo/Brian Kersey

If you know how to pronounce Ryan Theriot's name, you're on your way to being a Cubs fan.

6. Research, Part 2: Go a little deeper
Want to rebuff the claims that you are nothing but a bandwagon fan? A lowly parasite? Then take five minutes to learn how to pronounce an obscure player's name. Would a bandwagon fan know Ryan Theriot's name is pronounced Terry-O, not Therry-O, Therry-Ot or Terry-Ot? Of course not! It's an insane proposition! You are a true fan!

Now, take five more minutes and do some research online to find a player on your new team's roster who has been called underrated. Feel free to drop this newfound tidbit as often as possible in your conversations with friends and acquaintances about the team: "Sure, [star players X, Y and Z] are great. But I don't think [underrated player] gets enough credit."

Oh, snap! Look who's an insider all of a sudden!

7. Research, Part 3: Learn whom to hate
Part of being a fan -- bandwagon or otherwise -- is working up a good hatred for your favorite team's big rival. As a bandwagon fan, you are lucky -- like new love, young hate is strong and memorable. And there's no quicker way to prove your fan bona fides than by heckling the fans of your rival. Just hope those fans don't remember your face a few months from now when you jump on their bandwagon after your current team hits a rough patch.

8. Take on the identity of the team and its fan base
You have put in the work. You have spent more than $100 on T-shirts, hats and other stuff. You have dedicated some 30 minutes of time to researching your new team. No one can question your commitment now! So feel free to start referring to the team not as "them" but as "we." Call yourself a member of "[Team X] Nation." And make sure to talk about all your suffering. You, a devoted lifetime fan, have waited so long for a championship! For it was days and days ago that your beloved Celtics won a championship. And four long months before that when your Giants won the Super Bowl. The humanity! Won't someone save you? Will you not get to experience 100 championships in your lifetime?

9. Avoid "real" fans
These people think they are better than you. They think because they actually do have real family from Massachusetts or wherever, or because they have invested 30 years in a team instead of 30 minutes, that they somehow are more die-hard than you. They will be suspicious of you. They will ask you questions that can tread dangerously close to revealing that you know little more than how to pronounce "Theriot" or the name of that one underrated player. Shame on them! How dare they try to make you feel guilty for being a bandwagon fan! They are the stupid ones for wasting time rooting for bad teams, right?

So steer clear of these people. And whatever you do, don't let them anywhere near your car. They might get the wrong impression when they see that your bumper is covered in Red Sox, Yankees, Lakers, Celtics, Cowboys, Patriots, USC football and Duke basketball stickers. As though it's your fault that you have deep, childhood ties to all those teams!

10. Get a car flag
When Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong planted a United States flag on the moon in 1969, it signified that we had expanded the realm of human possibility and traveled to another world. So, too, when you plant a team flag on your car, it signifies that you have expanded the realm of human depravity and traveled to yet another bandwagon. Congratulations! And may your bandwagon drive off a cliff.

DJ Gallo is the founder and sole writer of the sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He also is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine and has written for The Onion and Cracked. His first book, "SportsPickle Presents: The View from the Upper Deck," is on sale now.



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?