On the Bandwagon: Picking Favorites In Sports and Politics
There are two distinct things about playing cat and mouse: firstly, the mouse usually loses, secondly, a man is not a mouse! Similarly nobody always wants to be the “Indian” in “cowboys and Indians”, because the outcome has been determined. That being said, I understand why you chose the favorite, I wouldn’t have it any other way. So much for the Cinderellas, the underdogs, the long-shot, fair enough. To “band-wagon” implies shifting loyalties to a popular opinion without adequate information in order to gain acceptance. This effect can skew public opinion with the fervor of wildfire, is used in politics effectively and is a cardinal sin for true sports fanatics.
During critical elections, the media projects outcomes, predicted outcomes, even hypotheticals that sway undecided voters into the band-wagon. Riding with the winner at the conclusion is almost as good as representing the campaign throughout the entire process. With a bit of direction, momentum can snowball into success. A band-wagoner will cast his vote on the safe side without knowing much about the candidate. Blind partisans ride first class on the band-wagon, complimentary champagne included. To the victor go the spoils.
While band-wagoning is synonymous with politics, it is taboo in the sports world. In this arena, last year’s champion, the highest grossing team and the favorite talents are popular hosts for the party. I will reserve the home team band-wagon for fans that opposed the hometown heroes prior to their success. Ride-or-Die fanatics look upon these transient fans with chagrin. Don’t break out your “Bad News Bears” jerseys yet folks, the game isn’t over.
No one likes a loser but I implore you to examine the relationship between you and your “favorite”. The band-wagon is a form of group-think which can escalate trends, magnify fads, predict a nomination and create a favorite. Group-think can seem harmless but if you’re not making your own decisions, then who is? We all have the right to our own prerogatives and a plethora of information at our fingertips. Use them!
Paschal S. Wilkinson IV