By Blake Baxter
You know it’s true. I know it’s true. We all know it’s true. But who is going to have the guts to say it?
It’s hard to believe now, but a long time ago, this country was founded on guts. You really think it was easy to stand up to the British? You think a guy named George Washington didn’t have guts when he crossed the Delaware River to lead the greatest sneak attack of all time? What about another guy named Paul Revere? You think it was easy for him to giddyup the troops when the British were coming? Giddy out of here.
But I’m not here to talk about history. I’m here to talk about the present, and let me tell you, folks: it is no gift.
Let’s start with baseball, America’s once proud national pastime. It used to be special, but it has been invaded by the enemy of true sports fans. True sports fans have been there since the beginning. They are the ones that go to as many games as they can possibly afford. When they can’t go to the games, they watch from home. And you know what they do when they are at home? They actually sit and watch the game! They aren’t on their phones, reading about the news of the world or texting friends that they haven’t talked to in a while. They aren’t asking their wives how their day was or helping their kids with their homework. Nay, these fans actually care about their team. For 162 games a year, they are consumed by their team and their team only.
The way it should be.
Two of the most historic franchises in Major League Baseball are playing in the World Series this year. The once cursed but now defiant Boston Red Sox versus the gritty and respectful St. Louis Cardinals. It could be one for the ages, but do the fans deserve it? Half the people watching probably don’t even remember the epic three-game series these teams had back in June because they were too busy working for a living or taking their kids to the circus. If you’re thinking, “yeah, but I’ve seen every game this post-season except for the one time I was studying for my mid-term,” then the joke’s on you, class clown. These teams didn’t even play this season. A real fan would know that. A real fan pays attention. No, you’re just a bandwagon fan, and you’re destroying the games we love.
It isn’t just limited to the baseball diamond. It doesn’t even just happen on grass.
Take to the ice, for example. Last spring, the Chicago Blackhawks won their second Stanley Cup in four years, and suddenly everyone in the great state of Illinois is a fan. But you should know by now that this isn’t true. These people are bandwagon fans, the single worst kind of human beings. You know them. They obnoxiously sing the anthem of a forgotten Scottish indie band every goal, but they couldn’t tell you who just scored. They think the Blackhawks are “fun to watch”, but they don’t even know what their record was last year off the top of their head. They think Andrew Shaw plays with heart or Patrick Kane is cute, but they weren’t there in 1961 when Bobby Hull led Chicago to its third Stanley Cup championship. Were you there? Then you’re the real fan.
We, the true sports fans, have to take the games back from these despicable bandwagoners. We have to get back to our roots.
I’m more of a rock and roll guy myself, but the kids say that there is some rap singer out there that says “No New Friends”. I think we all know what it should really say, though: “No New Fans”. They don’t deserve to be excited about the things that we were excited about first.
They had their chance for a wonderful holiday treat, but guess what: Christmas is canceled.
You don’t get to celebrate if you weren’t invited to the party.
Jump on the bandwagon; get run over.
This is America. It is time that we start acting like it again. We used to say “the buck stops here”. Now, we can’t even stop a wagon? I have the guts. Our forefathers had the guts. You need to have the guts, too. Stand up before it’s too late.
It’s a slippery slope out there. Wait, do you hear that?
That is the sound of everything that is pure and right about sports rolling away.
Blake Baxter is a native of Illinois and a 2013 graduate of Eureka College. He currently covers the Carolina Panthers for Football.com and previously covered college basketball for ESPN Louisville during the 2012-13 season. He has also written about sports, pop culture and politics for The College Fix, The Wine and Cheese Crowd and an assortment of newspapers. Blake works in the communication and marketing field for Technical Solutions & Services, but aspires to write full-time someday.