Bandwagon fans

Shannon Freese

This October a Missouri team stepped up big and claimed a title. It was a big title. It was the World Series.
Unless you live under a rock, you’ve heard about the St. Louis Cardinals winning in seven games. Also, there was a player with my namesake, David Freese, who happened to win Most Valuable Series. Around September as the Cardinals started winning again, a few people decided to up-and-join Redbird Nation like it was their personal calling.
I thought of the Cardinals season like the Six Flag St. Louis ride “The Boss.” If you’ve never been on The Boss, you really need to just pack up a car and go to Six Flags right now. It’s amazing. At first the tension of the start of the Cardinals season was like going up the first hill on the roller coaster. The ride always makes me nervous, and it makes my stomach churn. Then it just drops. It’s thrilling.
However, as the summer rolled around, the Cardinals slowly digressed into suck-age. Injuries stripped the Cardinals of their best player. At the beginning of the year, ace pitcher Adam Wainwright was put on the disabled list for his Tommy John surgery on his elbow. In May third baseman David Freese broke his hand after being hit by a pitch. He didn’t even heal until the end of June. While Freese was healing, Albert Pujols broke his hand and was also put on the disabled list. From June 10 to June 26, the Cardinals were failing – epically. They went 3-12.
Overcoming the injuries was not the only part of chugging slowly up this hill. After August the Cardinals were ten games behind the Atlanta Braves, third in the Wild Card Race and only had a 4.3% (www.espn.com) of being in the playoffs. This time was the climbing of the second hill.
This is where all the bandwagon fans got onto The Boss.
After the second hill, The Boss is just an amazing roller coaster. There’s the part where it goes into the wooden structure of the coaster, the spiral and the short hill that makes the coaster feel like it’s about to jump off the track.
In the Cardinals’ last 32 games, they went 23-9. Let’s face it, they were on fire. Win after win after win and as soon as they clinched the Wild Card, October began and the bandwagon filled up.
Bandwagon fans make me sick. I spent all summer stressing over the return of David Freese. There was a point where I gave up. I sat down on my couch and watched my team sink into a slump that nearly took it out of the playoffs entirely. If I’m going to be honest, the only person I knew who didn’t entirely give up on the St. Louis Cardinals this summer was Alex Brown. He kept his faith; that’s impressive.
I’m glad I followed the Cardinals all season. Without it, I wouldn’t have experienced the absolute joy, satisfaction and fulfillment I had after the third out in game seven. I thought back to the struggles and the times where I turned off the TV in anger and was proud. They did it. They really made a comeback. This is the end of the roller coaster. When I roll back to the launch point, I smile. It’s the perfect end to a perfect ride.
Just because a team does well doesn’t mean you can just hop on the bandwagon. You wouldn’t get on a roller coaster that’s already started. So don’t cheer for a team just because they’re doing well.
Today, I hate bandwagon fans.
By Shannon Freese