Why I Am a Bandwagon Fan

UPDATE: Woohoo!  Grizzlies won 90-88 to force Game 7!  See you Sunday, L.A. Floppers!

I hate bandwagon fans.  If the Buffalo Bills ever end up being legitimately good again and I start seeing jerseys and t-shirts all over the place, I will be in people’s faces.  Where were they during the 12-year playoff drought?  Where were they during the Rob Johnson years, the J.P. Losman years?  I earned my right to be excited about Bills wins; bandwagon fans have not.

However, I willingly and freely admit that I am a bandwagon Memphis Grizzlies fan.  I haven’t been a fan for years; I haven’t been with them through thick and thin.  I don’t know every player on the team and all of their stats.  I don’t even know what positions they play beyond those guys are really big, those guys shoot a lot, and that guy’s the point guard.

But when it comes to jumping on the Grizzlies bandwagon, it’s different.

First of all, I’m not a long-time basketball fan.  I never watched the NBA growing up.  We didn’t even watch the Final Four in our house.  I was annoyed when the Spurs were doing well in the playoffs during my senior prom because all the guys were busy getting score updates on their phones instead of dancing.  I cared a little during college, but even then it was mostly because my friends were huge Mavs fans and if I wanted to hang out with them late in the season or during playoffs, I had to watch basketball.

Second, I’m not exactly picking the most dominant team in the NBA.  This is not someone spontaneously becoming a Patriots fan in 2003 or a Red Sox fan in October 2004.  The Grizzlies are good, but they’re underdogs most of the time.

Third, I’m not abandoning another team for one that’s better.  I have no other team, unless you count a vague loyalty to the Mavs left over from my college days.  I have no real  loyalty to any team in the NBA, so I can choose who I cheer for.  And I choose the Grizzlies.

Which brings me to my fourth reason why my bandwagon status is acceptable (to me anyway): I live here.  In Memphis.  This is my city. Therefore, the Grizzlies are my team.

I want to see them do well because it brings a special joy and excitement to my home town.  I love driving around town seeing people in t-shirts and jerseys and other gear that promotes Memphis.  I love the city pride that comes with a winning sports team.  I love seeing people get excited about the city we live in, instead of focusing on the negative things we still need to work on.

So no, I don’t have season tickets.  I don’t watch every regular season game.  I don’t own a t-shirt that says “Marc Gasol is Spanish for Man Beast,” although I would love to.  But I do love this city and I do support the Grizzlies.  I was cheering myself hoarse at Game 5, I will be watching Game 6 tonight, and hopefully, will be sitting in the nosebleeds with my Believe Memphis t-shirt and my Growl Towel for an epic Game 7.

I am proud to be a bandwagon Grizzlies fan.  Grit, Grind, Grizz.  Believe Memphis.

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