16 Dec

You’re in Seahawks Country.

I am first and foremost, a baseball fan. I’ve spent seven baseball seasons, hopelessly devoted to the Seattle Mariners. I spend six months out of the year checking on baseball blogs, watching games, tracking team standings. But it leaves the other six months of the year lacking. I have been trying to get into football the last couple of years, but it hasn’t happened for me.

This year things have changed. I watched a couple of playoff games last year and saw that the Seattle Seahawks were becoming a viable team. Before this season started, I started dating a dashing young man who knows oodles about sports. We spend our Sundays watching football, him explaining a lot of the little nuances of the game to me. I read articles here and there about the team. And I’m enjoying it so much! The Seahawks are amazing this year. Russel Wilson is incredible. Our defense is unstoppable. Marshawn Lynch seems to fly through the air over the other team’s defensive line. It is the first time in my 27 years that I have had the pleasure of supporting a successful team.

Yesterday, that dashing young man took me to the Seahawks/Giants game at MetLife Stadium. Decked out in our Russel Wilson jerseys, we tailgated in lot J8 under a flag that deemed that area Seahawks country. We were surrounded my hundreds of other fans in Jerseys, hats, scarves, tutus, chanting “Go Hawks!”, taking Seahawks-colored Jello shots.

While waiting in line for the Porta-Potty, the man standing behind me asked if I was from Seattle. I told him I was.

“But you live in New York, and still follow the Seahawks?” he asked.
“I’m more of a Mariner fan, but this season, I’ve gotten more into…”
“Oh, so you’re a bandwagon fan?”
“She’s more of a Seattle fan,” my boyfriend said, defending me.

But I had nothing to say back. I’ve been called a bandwagon fan before, but I have always laughed it off as ridiculous. I’ve been following the Mariners through six painful, losing seasons after all. But this man had a point. I only became a Seahawks fan during their winning season. Was I bandwagon?

I brooded on this. And it comes down to what makes up fan loyalty? The Mariners I fell in love with in 2007 are not the same team they are now. Felix Hernandez is about all that’s left from back then, and it’s only six years ago. It has a lot to do with the city. I dream of Seattle and feel pride of anything good that comes from there. But being a fan is a unique kind of loyalty. For one reason or another, a fan picks a team and sticks with them. They believe in them, follow them. Every fan has a unique story as to why that team is theirs.

I hate when Bandwagon is a term that fans throw around in exasperation. It reminds me of a child on a playground retorting, “Oh yeah, well your stupid!” It’s the easy thing to say. Your a fan of a team that’s better than mine? Well, then you must be bandwagon. To me bandwagon is a fan who lacks that loyalty, who doesn’t dedicate themself to a team, who chooses their team superficially due to popularity or style. I met a Yankee fan at a Seattle Mariner’s game who asked me if Joe DiMaggio was on the team or not. THAT’S bandwagon.

I have dedicated my loyalty to an amazing team, from the greatest city in this country. The fact that they happen to be on their way to a Super Bowl championship, well, that’s just icing on the cake.


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