Bandwagon [band-wag-uh n] noun

  1. a wagon, usually large and ornately decorated, for carrying a musical band while it is playing, as in a circus parade or to a political rally.
  2. a party, cause, movement, etc., that by its mass appeal or strength readily attracts many followers:

After it became apparent that the incumbent would win, everyone decided to jump on the bandwagon.



My wife has just finished an 800-page novel by American writer Pat Conroy (Beach Music). For fun, something which I do occasionally, particularly after finishing a novel or watching a movie, I look up the reviews at either the Amazon or IMDB (International Movie Data Bank) websites. This morning, I came across many five-star reviews for the book and a couple of one-star assessments.

Which is, when you subtract my own biases for the work of art in question, how it should be. The human spirit, and its reactions to art, is varied. People react differently to the same characters and their depictions, their plights and struggles. Would you want all the veggies in the garden to be the same?

The same goes for sports and sports fans. You have your diehards, those fans who’ll remain in the baseball stands through an extended game and into the wee hours of the morning, the 20th inning if necessary. Then you have the opposite type, people who could not care less if there’s a championship team in their own town (incredible, I know, but theoretically possible…).

Finally, there are people like me who are sore from hopping onto and off the proverbial bandwagon.

I learnt from a pro – my mom. Back in the 60’s, we were (I still am) fans of the Montreal Alouettes. The two of us went to many football games at McGill Stadium, the “good old days” when fans would run onto the field at the end of the game, as I did, and pat the bruised, dirty warriors on the back as they trotted off to their dressing room. Moreover, she even had personal friends on the team, thanks to her close friendship with her sister-in-law, my Auntie Mary Lou, a bit of a partyer who knew certain members of the Alouettes.

Nevertheless, was my mom a diehard fan? Many were the games where, if the opposing team got a late score, my mom would up and leave the room or turn off the TV saying, “Well, that’s it. Game over.”

She just couldn’t handle her team losing, even if it turned out it was for only a few plays.

This is where I sit on the sports fan spectrum. Montrealers love to see their sports teams smash the opposition. That is why many people are not overjoyed with our hockey coach, Michel Therrien, whose Canadiens have experienced nothing but success since he took over for the second time in his career. They don’t like the low-scoring, defensive style of the famed hockey team. They don’t seem to be able to accept the fact that the high-scoring teams of the past, like the Edmonton Oilers of Gretzky fame, are just that, teams of the past.

I can live with the Canadiens style. It seems to have worked this year where the Canadiens won their division, and were just behind the New York Rangers in terms of number of wins this season. However, I’m just as squeamish as my mom was. I love it when the team squishes its opponent, as they did to the Tampa Bay Lightning the other night, 6-2, but I’m also suddenly tired and ready for bed, on the other hand, when the Lightning score another goal and the Canadiens seems outplayed.

Well, boo hoo for me. The Canadiens are showing me, and everyone who’s watching, who really has backbone. As I write, the team has rebounded from being down 3-0 in the best-of-seven Stanley Cup playoff series to a still precarious 3-2 position, yet in possession of that ephemeral yet powerful force – momentum.

Every time the Canadiens win, their coach quietly and emotionally talks to the press about the team’s unwillingness to give up, to keep fighting back no matter what, to never give in to despair.

I could learn a thing or two from the fighting spirit of this team, if only I could keep watching.



2 thoughts on “Bandwagon

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