23 January, 2012

The Bandwagon: Why That Loss Might've Hurt Us Few More Than You Faithful

The Niners lost last night (is it too soon to talk about this? Never mind, I'm a bandwagon-er. I have no soul). As all my Niner facebook friends dutifully make obligatory comments about massive jersey returns today, which, let's face it, were last-minute, knock-off Walmart jerseys anyway, I say kudos; Walmart is likely to take back your __insert player name here__ t-shirt that reeks of B.O. with cheese dip stains down the front. Real fans hate you but I admire your frugality.

But, here's the thing, I think that this Niner loss might actually hurt worse for a bandwagon fan like me than a "forever faithful" fan like you. Here's why: you're used to this. You take this beating all the time. (This is the part where I make huge generalizations about a subject  I know very little about) You knew that Alex Smith (or was it Adam? Aldon? Justin?) was... inconsistent at best. That he relies almost entirely on what his defense manages to maintain in their 50% of field time. I didn't. I really thought they had a chance. You can blame that on my lack of expertise in all things pertaining to football. 

But, really, for us it's like the beginning of a whirlwind relationship. We got so caught up in the fantasy of it. The first touchdown. The amazing sacks by the defense. Every awesome play was like the first kiss or touch of a hand -- that honeymoon phase when your lover can do no wrong and all is wonderful with the world (did you see the last 10 minutes of the Niners-Siants game? Who could not fall in love??). And then they drop the pass or don't call you back and you just feel lonely and defeated and there is no one to cuddle with.

But you, you've been here before. In fact, you're that girl who keeps going back to the guy who treats her like crap. He's cheated on you, lied to you, stood you up, and yet you run back with open arms and your heart on your sleeve. You know, that girl who complains every time they break up or get into a fight, but she keeps going back. At some point you stop feeling sorry for her and just start to pity her. Even when her boyfriend was getting counseling from this really great Dr (I think his name was Harbaugh?) we all just kinda nodded our heads in feign understanding.

But the Niners made it into the playoffs and all of us from the greater Bay Area got really excited because the last time a team from the Bay Area made it to the Super Bowl they choked (do you hear me Raider fans?). We all scrounged around for some red and gold and updated our statuses thinking, "We're going to be a part of this! This is exciting! It's the Bay! Ya, Bay!" And we were legitimately excited. 

But then people started taunting us. "Get out of here bandwagoners; you're not welcome." What? Wait, either I root for your team or I root against your team. And don't tell me you prefer the latter -- I got pretty well facebook shanked for rooting for the Rangers in the 2010 World Series (I heart Ron), and I had a pretty legitimate, baseball-knowledge reason for rooting for the Rangers (hello, Ron's a hottie. Plus, that whole cocaine bust thing was kinda badass). 

I had no business rooting for the Niners because I hadn't put the time in. But part of me had. Can I tell you names and stats of every player on the team? No, but I can tell you that my childhood was filled with Sunday afternoon football. You can bet that my dad laid out that big Niners blanket on our living room floor and we devoured a casserole dish full of nachos as my dad tried to watch the game while we four sisters pestered him with questions. "Daddy, what's going on?" "Daddy, why are you yelling at the t.v.?" "Daddy, it's okay, here's a chip full of nachoey-goodness."

I think I've put in some time, after all, I was raised in the Bay and unless you lived under a rock you knew about the Raiders and the Niners and you took a side. Any side would do. And, since the Niners made it all the way to the playoffs why not root for them, huh? I thought you would be happy your team had more support, more love. We could even create a "Put Vernon Davis on on SNL" facebook page, wouldn't that be fun guys? Wouldn't it?

But, Faithful, I know how it hurts -- I am an A's fan. We know all about that so-close-and-yet-so-far-away feelings. 

So I guess my question is: How does one get off the wagon? Is there an application process? A probationary period? Please, guys.  I'm doing the work, I'm baby-stepping, I'm not a slacker. (Bonus points if you can name that completely irrelevant but truly amazing film.)

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