Thursday, May 1, 2014

How Much of a Bandwagon Fan Am I?

I was walking to the bar to meet my friends for Game 7 of the Rangers-Flyers series last night, and a horrific thought crossed my mind: Have I become a bandwagon Rangers fan? I haven't followed the team that closely, but I'm sure as hell catching Playoff Fever. I've always despised the fair-weather/bandwagon types but I think I might be one of them now.

I don't usually do this, but I'm going to try to objectively answer the title of this post. How much of a bandwagon fan am I? Let's break it down.

I'm driving the 'wagon -- The Case Against Me
  • I'd say I watched only one-quarter of the Rangers' regular season games this year. Contrast that with the Yankees and Giants, whose games I rarely miss, and the Knicks, whose games I only skip once they fall more than 10 games under .500.
  • The eventual game-winning goal last night was scored by a Rangers player wearing number 67. I started to cheer then asked myself, "Wait ... Who's number 67?" It turns out that it's Benoit Pouliot, someone I've heard of but don't know too much about. (I'd bet he's French-Canadian, though.) 
"Excuse me, goalscorer. Who are you?"
  • Besides Pouliot, there are several other Blueshirts about whom I have little knowledge. Those players include Raphael Diaz and Dominic Moore. Every true hockey fan should know the basic information -- including numbers -- of all the guys on the top four lines.
  • I once had to Google "Why does Potvin suck?". I basically failed Rangers Fandom 101 when I typed those words.
  • After moving several times and growing out of most of the clothes I wore when I was 16, I currently own just one piece of Rangers gear. Moreover, it's this crappy T-shirt:   
  • I've been all-in on the NBA the entire season, as might have been evident in my weekly power rankings. And in case you haven't heard, the playoffs haven't been too shabby either. I watched a ton of hoops, and I learned a great deal about the league. As a result, though, I became a rather crappy NHL fan. No regrets; there are only so many hours in the day; (add a third cliche of your own choosing here).
I'm off the 'wagon -- The Case For Me
  • I love the Rangers. I've loved them ever since I was a seven-year-old watching them win the 1994 Stanley Cup. Does that mean I started out as a fair-weather fan, too? Shut up.
  • I don't know the backstory for Pouliot, Diaz, or Moore, but I can sure as hell tell you a lot about players like Nash, Girardi, McDonagh, Boyle, Staal, and Hagelin. (Although I did call Hagelin "Brooks" for a while.) I've been following these guys for years, and I've invested plenty of time in them.
  • Even though Daniel Carcillo has scored two big goals for the Blueshirts in these playoffs, I still can't shake my recollections of him as an asshole Flyer. Bandwagon fans don't have that kind of long-term memory.
  • Henrik Ludqvist is a How Blank favorite. I'm such a Hank fan that Team Sweden is my second-favorite squad during each Olympics.
  • I've made it to at least two games for each of the last three years. "So what?" you might say. "The Garden is so much fun on hockey nights. Even non-fans would show up." Still, it takes a decent commitment of time and money to catch a game.
  • I understand -- and hate -- hybrid icing.
  • I've never typed #LGR before right now.
The Verdict: After examining the cases for me and against me (as compiled by me), I've come to the conclusion that I wasn't a good Rangers fan this year. Still, my sense of history and my background as a pretty solid supporter combined to buy me some leeway. I'm definitely not driving the Rangers Playoff Bandwagon, but you might see me sitting in one of the back seats. Either way, I'm ready to cheer the Blueshirts for the rest of the postseason, starting Friday night as they face off against the Penguins. #LGR!

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  1. I'm totally a Rangers bandwagon-er. I love the spectacle and intensity of playoff hockey, but I don't really love the sport of hockey. I think that's the difference. I could watch basically any basketball game and get something out of it. A hockey fan might say the opposite.

    I like to think true Rangers fans don't mind the bandwagon-ers as long as we are honest and know our place in the hierarchy. Who wouldn't want more people rooting for their team? You just don't want the bandwagon-ers all of a sudden throwing out line change suggestions and their thoughts on the "odd man rush".

    1. Haha, I agree; I don't think true fans mind too much as long as we keep our mouths shut. I would never try to critique Vigneault's coaching style or argue about the merits of hockey's advanced stats.

      Anyways, It's kind of liberating to just jump on the bandwagon for the excitement of the playoffs.