It’s time.

I’ve been accused of it regarding every single sports team in the Burgh except for the Bitch Doctors.

I’m sure at some point you’ve been accused of it.

I’ve accused my mother of it.

The bandwagon jumper finger-wagging. The fair-weather fan accusations.

As we enter into game six tonight, it’s time. It’s time for this “nyah-nyahnyah” divisive foolishness to be put away.

Let’s start with the Buccos of Suckitude. That’s right. The BUCCOS OF SUCKITUDE who are in the midst of their — what is it 15th, 18th, 652nd losing year? Because I dare to call the coaches, the players, the owners, the management out on their very evident suckiness, because I regularly shout in their faces the exact magnitude of their suckiness as it currently registers on the Suck-O-Meter, because I don’t fall at their feet just because they are wearing the uniform that once rested on the shoulders of Roberto Clemente, well, I’m a fairweather fan that will become a bandwagon jumper if ever they start winning.

Because I’m straight with them, does that mean I don’t want them to win? Does that mean I don’t still watch their games? Does that mean I don’t still give a fist pump and a quiet YES! when they win? Does that mean I didn’t watch the game last night right up until it was over, hoping they could pull two runs out of their sucking asses?

I’m still a fan. I still want their success. But I’m not going to support them when they’ve sucked this long. I’m not paying to go see their games. I’m not writing post after post about how awesome they are. I’m not rushing out to buy a Drabek jersey (what?!?!).

It seems to me that in nowhere but sports is it considered an honorable thing to “stand by your sucking man” so to speak. In real life, we never find ourselves proudly saying:

“You know, my husband, he regularly beats the shit out of me and calls me a lard ass, but I’m a big fan.”

“My girlfriend, she’s a drug addict and yesterday she emptied out my bank account to buy drugs, but I’m proud to say that I don’t think any less of her!”

“My son. He failed every single class this semester, but gosh, I’m real proud to see how hard he’s trying. Tonight, I think I’ll take him to Dave and Buster’s for some FUN!”

No! We look at our husband and we say, I love you but I can’t be with you right now until you fix yourself. We look at our girlfriend and say, I still care about you, but you need to go away. We look at our son and say, WTF?!? Hit the damn books!

But in sports, we thump our chests and holler, “I’ve loved the Buccos since I was in my mother’s womb finger- spelling ‘Let’s go Bucs’ to the ultrasound technician. I’ve worn this exact Penguins jersey for ten straight years and I even bathe in it. Hell, I got MARRIED in it. You! You only buy Penguins tickets when they’re winning. YOU SUCK! I RULE!”

Who cares? I love David Conrad and I might be his number one fan. But if David Conrad wins an Oscar and suddenly acquires thousands of new fans that will someday walk away from him if he hit rock bottom, I’m still going to be thrilled that more people are recognizing the awesomeness of David Conrad, even if just for a while.

As for the Penguins and their recent success. The die-hard fans seem to think they’re better than the casual fans.

I don’t care if you watched the entire Game 5 and didn’t turn away from the TV once. I don’t care if you couldn’t watch because it was stressful. I don’t care if you watched the second period and then went to bed because you were tired. I don’t care if you were the last person to leave the Igloo and then you went to meet the team when they arrived home from Detroit. I don’t care if you were walking out of the Igloo when Max scored that tying goal because you were disappointed or were trying to beat the traffic rush. It makes no difference.

We’re all fans, some of us to greater degrees than others, but we’re all still fans.

Yes, if the Buccos ever start winning again, I’m going to STILL be a fan and I’m going to cheer them publicly and I’m going to write lots of great posts about them and maybe even self-unite to a few of them. There is no bandwagon that I’ve fallen off of. I’m still on it. I’m just sitting in the back with my legs hanging over the side, watching the scenery and wondering if it’s ever going to get interesting again.





18 Comments

  1. Ex-Pat Pittsburgh Girl
    June 4, 2008 3:43 pm

    Here, here, PittGirl!!!! You said it! I believe fandom, along with one’s religious and political beliefs, are personal to each of us and it is no one’s business to judge the genuineness of those beliefs (even the US Supreme Court prohibits considering the genuineness of someone’s religious beliefs). We all choose for ourselves how to express our support, disappointment, joy, frustration, whatever when it comes to our teams and so long as the manner in which you choose to do so doesn’t cause harm to yourself or others, it’s none of my damned beeswax!

    Now, LET’S GO PENS!!!!!



  2. Maria
    June 4, 2008 3:44 pm

    Amen.



  3. TWM Tripe
    June 4, 2008 3:45 pm

    Chad Hermann is probably offended by this posting because he is a superior Pens fan. Wait, what am I saying? He’s offended by everything.



  4. MoreRoth,LessBurger
    June 4, 2008 3:57 pm

    I have to admit I don’t understand hockey except for when the puck goes in the net and we put it there its good and when we can’t stop the other guys from putting it in our net its bad.

    But how can anyone not get absolutely mind blowing crazy with hope and joy for anything from Pittsburgh to be the BEST IN THE WORLD? Steelers, a little league team, some middle school chess team – I don’t care.

    It’s the ‘burgh, and if you come a little late to the party you are still more than welcome.

    I’ll be down in Atlanta in the 90 degree weather, but my heart will be in the ‘burgh. I hope y’all cheer your lungs owt.



  5. JT
    June 4, 2008 3:57 pm

    Well said, P.G.

    Personally, I look at the Pirates like a relative who’s on crack. I love ’em. I really want them to get better. But you can bet I’m done giving them my money…



  6. Jennifer
    June 4, 2008 4:01 pm

    Thank you Pitt Girl! I appreciate this because I probably would be considered a band wagon fan by the old die hards. But it isn’t my fault. Really. My parents are what I refer to in hushed tones formerly reserved for words like cancer and pregnant, “sports atheists.” I grew up disdaining sports. Hating them. Thinking they were for people with mullets who lived in the country and drank bad beer out of cans. I’m sorry. Its like growing up Catholic, or Greek. You believe it because that’s all you know.

    By the time I got to college I was still a sports virgin. I discovered Hockey there b/c I went to school in upstate NY and EVERYONE went to the games. I thought it was beautiful!! But by the time I moved to Pittsburgh several years later, I forgot how great it was, and reverted to sports chastity.

    Then I fell in love with Pittsburgh. I love this city like scary middle Americans love America. I want to paint my house black and gold and wear creepy Pittsburgh themed clothing everywhere and accuse everyone who doesn’t fall to their knees and kiss 376 and the Squirrel Hill Tunnel when they return from a trip of being a terrorist.

    So imagine my joy to discover that sports don’t suck and in fact provide the PERFECT outlet for this Pittsburgh Passion? (due to scheduling conflicts I couldn’t actually go see the Pittsburgh Passions yet this year, but I’m planning on becoming a die hard PP fan too!) Watching Football, to my amazement, is actually enjoyable. Beyond enjoyable. A sensory delight which allows me to love my city and scream obscenities at the TV all in one. (Not to mention the beer and snack food!) To suddenly find hockey too is like reconnecting with an old lover, only to find out he transformed from the geeky boy down the street into, well, Sid!

    And the great thing about sports is that it gives you a common passion to share with everyone else in the city. A shared expression of all that is awesome about Pittsburgh. The most awesomest awesomeness in the city! The old cat lady, the janitor at my kids school, the academics, the reporters, rich, poor, black white, Sports is our common expression for Pittsburgh Patriotism!

    So while I may have just jumped on the bandwagon of hockey this year (I found football in 2003) you can bet that I am NOT getting off. Win, lose, or suckitude, I am a fan for life.

    Thanks for letting me come out of the closet with that! GO PENS!



  7. spoon
    June 4, 2008 4:04 pm

    I find that a lot of it stems from the obsessive insanity that is required for members of yinzer nation. The die hard Steeler fan who would kill their own mother if she said that Ben really isn’t *THAT* good or the Rooney’s are parallel to the dark side of the force. (just making an example here, relax). There have been plenty of these fans who have trickled into other local sports to fill the void of the off season.

    You’re absolutely right with the level of fans. So what if you don’t remember the glory of Jim Gott and his curls pitching for the 88 Buccos. You’re here now right? Alright, bad example. So you didn’t have season tickets or come out during the Pens rebuilding years. You’re here now right! You just found out about hockey? Well come on down and share in the excitement. You cant be an uber fan all the time or you begin to live in a delusional state like self proclaimed super genius Mark Madden.

    The people who need to be addressed are the ones who are all gung ho supporting a team because that’s the “in” thing and once the team loses 1 game in a best of 7 they’re all “that’s it! we suck! it’s over! Face it we’re done!” We need to work on a name for them.

    The difference with band wagoners is that they still support a team till it’s over. The ones I described are just people with nothing better to do than snub their wannabe elitist nose at you when in fact they’re just sports fan bitches.

    It comes down feeling superior. Their identity is the team and if you’re not at their level of dedication then, as the shirts read, “you ain’t shit!”

    oh yeah Go Pens! (and riverhounds, pirates, passion, roller derby ladies, curlers, bocce ballers, bowlers and everyone else)



  8. Lyon Advocate
    June 4, 2008 4:16 pm

    TWM Tripe,

    Word. I stopped reading TWM when he spent something like 5,000 words defending himself against some prepubescents on a Pens blog. Grow up, it’s sports and there is room for everyone and a lot of opinions. But he IS a better Pens fan than you … because he said so.



  9. MiamiShyner
    June 4, 2008 5:52 pm

    Doug Drabek. Word.



  10. In Sewickley
    June 4, 2008 8:10 pm

    Some sports fans don’t get me.

    They ask if I love pro football. I say, “eh, it’s OK.” They ask if I love the Steelers. I say, “Hell yeah…HERE WE GO!!!!!!!!!”

    They ask if I love baseball. “Eh,” I say. They ask if I love the Pirates. I say, “Yes, but they do suck.”

    They ask if I love hockey. “It’s fun to watch.” They ask if I love the Penguins. “WOOT! C’mon, c’mon, come on…let’s go PENS!” I say.

    It’s not about the sport. It’s about PITTSBURGH. These folks are representing the city I love. The city I’m proud to call home. It’s about Pittsburgh pride.

    Now come on Pens…let’s get to gettin’ and score a goal. Another 5-on-3 and nothing. What the crap!!!!!



  11. Crying Pens Fan Tonight
    June 4, 2008 11:04 pm

    Let me present the opposite side for a moment – I grew up in a hockey crazy family & am hockey crazy myself, & it is a little frustrating when hockey becomes the trendy thing to do. Because I remember sitting in the arena with my $20 student rush tickets in high school when we hadn’t sold out in months, when our biggest stars were guys I can’t even remember now, & cheer like crazy even though we were losing game after game after game. Now I tried to get tickets to tonight’s game & couldn’t find anything for under $500 for an F level ticket (on TicketExchange – reserved for season ticket holders – not even on eBay or Craigslist). And yeah, I’m gonna use the term “bandwagoner” for those people selling those because I can’t imagine a real Penguins fan giving up tonight’s ticket for any amount of money.

    We Pens fans in this city considered ourselves a small fraternity, and we’re kind of annoyed that everyone else in the city has discovered our little secret. I’m thrilled that the Pens have sold out so many games in a row. I’m thrilled that new fans are arriving. I’m just reserving judgement until the bad times, when they do come, to see how many stick around. I really hope you do though.

    That said, what an amazing season & post-season. I can’t wait for October.



  12. Still A. Fan
    June 4, 2008 11:51 pm

    PG said: “I’m still a fan.”

    that’s odd….i thought ~I~ was…….



  13. A. Burger
    June 5, 2008 7:23 am

    I grew up in Pgh, lived there the first 23 years of my life until I got married and had to move :(
    Now I live in NY and have to constantly deal with people that hate on Pittsburghers and call us all fake fans – simply because we cheer on our teams, win or lose? I thought that’s what it meant to be a sports fan – you support your team. Maybe that’s just what it means to be a Pittsburgh fan and no one else gets it….



  14. Magnus Patris
    June 5, 2008 8:17 am

    I think I’m going to go out and buy my 5 year old son a Sidney Crosby or Marc-Andre Fleury shirt tomorrow. He may not understand yet, but these are young men in their 20’s that I want him to see a role models. Not because they are great athletes, but because they work hard, give their all for their team, and win (and lose) graciously; no swaggering, no complaining, no trash talking; just like how I want my sons to be. Go Pens!



  15. Burgh Baby
    June 5, 2008 8:43 am

    I’ve been having a fabulous email exchange with someone who happened upon my place and felt it appropriate to have a coronary because I was/am using a “Go Pens!” sort of header. The guy was all sorts of wound up because I didn’t have that header there all season which, obviously, means I’m just a bandwagon fan. Cause, you know, it’s totally appropriate for a Mommy Blog to be all Penguins all the time. My next email to him is going to be a nice little reference to this post, along with a swift smack upside the head. I just have to figure out where he lives so I can deliver the smack.



  16. Caryn
    June 5, 2008 10:04 am

    Crying Pens Fan: I understand what your saying but you KNOW deep down inside that if the Pens had remained a “little secret” then they would have moved on to another city long ago. The Pens need the die hard and casual fans; and yes, the ones willing to spend $$ because they buy merchandise. It is the dollars from sold out seats and merchandise cuts that fuel a winning team nowadays, so, as a long standing Pens fan, you know deep down inside it IS a good thing. As one who has been a long standing casual hockey fan (I like it even more than football but don’t have time to watch all the games or every minute of the game), I would not compare myself to one like you, but I’m still a fan and still helping the team!! And I agree that Pittsburghers are loyal to their sports teams b/c they represent the city and our never give up attitude – GO PENS!!



  17. Pensgirl
    June 5, 2008 11:07 am

    I meant to write this yesterday and ended up not getting the chance. But I’m actually gonna disagree with your premise a bit Pittgirl. At least for me personally.

    I’ve never thought of a “bandwagon jumper” as “a person who only becomes a fan when a team is winning,” but rather as a person who doesn’t actually care about the team win or lose but who pretends to care when the team is winning because following said team is the cool thing to do. They’re people who are about image and status alone, and may not even care about sports.

    They’re the people sitting around my brother and me on October 27th when we lost to Montreal in a long shootout. All game, they didn’t cheer. Didn’t clap. Didn’t jump up wildly for goals. Weren’t rooting for Montreal either. They just sat there, like lumps, looking disinterested.

    I have no use for those people. They are the ones who make me mad. Someone else could have had that ticket – someone who, whether they attended when the team was doing poorly or not, would be clapping and cheering and chanting “Let’s Go Pens” and would have been happy to be there.

    I do feel for a die-hard who can no longer afford to go and I understand the perspective that they feel that a more casual fan who can afford it is “taking their seat.” But I also understand that casual fans or fans who say “The product has to be worth it” can still be still real fans. It’s good for the organization when such people say “Hey I gotta be a part of this!”

    What makes someone a real fan isn’t when they decide to go to a game, it’s what they do when they’re there.



  18. ckap
    July 27, 2008 7:16 pm

    Bitch Doctors? Wrecking Dolls.