According to Merriam-Webster, a bandwagoner is "a person who takes part in or becomes enthusiastic about something only when it is popular or fashionable."
The term bandwagon was first used in the mid-19th century in the US. It literally meant a wagon that carried a band in a parade- much different from the term we use today, but the term continued to grow in meaning.
Later that century, politicians took the word from meaning literally "jumping on the bandwagon" to mean that you were showing your loyalty to a candidate. It was solidified by Teddy Roosevelt's line, “When I once became sure of one majority, they tumbled over each other to get aboard the band wagon.”
And the rest is history. So today, while the word may still be used in reference to supporting political campaigns, it's most commonly used when referring to sports teams. More importantly, the word has developed a negative connotation.
I am a bandwagoner and I think that's OK. A lot of people would say they dislike me and others like myself for it. I've found that people who jump on the bandwagon for a winning sports team are looked down upon for multiple reasons.
One is there's an ideal fan: the “true” fan. The true fan sticks with their team through the good and the bad, win or lose. But what if my team does lose (which, as a Philadelphian, they often do,) what am I supposed to do then?
I'm not talking about one regular season loss. Make no mistake; I am not a fair-weather Eagles fan. I will not cast aside my team for a couple lousy games. Philadelphia fans are faithful to a fault; we believe until the bitter end that we will make the playoffs. Then, if we don't, am I supposed to just tap out for the rest of the season and not enjoy the camaraderie that comes with taking sides? I refuse.
For Super Bowl 50 I cheered for Denver the entire time. Why? First, the Eagles were obviously not contenders (still holding onto hope for this year). Second is because I love Peyton Manning. Not because he's ever had any effect on my team whatsoever, but because he's so charismatic and you can't deny he's a good quarterback.
But mostly because I think he's funny as hell. I didn't have any monetary stakes riding on the game; I just wanted to cheer for someone.
Another reason bandwagoners have a bad reputation is because anti-wagoners assume we don't know enough about sports and choose to support the majority.
This may be true for some fans, but a lot of us just want a good team to cheer for or, like I said before, something to do with the rest of our season other than twiddle our thumbs while we wait for our next team's opening day.
College sports are where I find it gets especially fierce. After the NCAA Championship, my Facebook was flooded with posts from Villanovans about how people weren't cheering for Villanova from the get go, or how they felt the need to proclaim they've been Nova fans their entire lives. And so have their parents -- and their grandparents -- and every single cousin they have as well.
No, I don't go to Villanova University, but I found it exciting to have a team win the championship that I'm so geographically connected to.
I went to high school in that town. My track team used their facilities as home base. I attended the Holy War between Villanova and Saint Joseph's University basketball teams every year. No, I didn't follow their season from the beginning because quite frankly, I don't enjoy watching basketball all that much. You heard me; I jumped on the bandwagon for an entire damn sport.
Did you hop on the Wentz Wagon this season? I welcome you with open arms and I'm sure the number two overall draft pick does too!
Did you cheer for the Cubs in the World Series because you think it's exciting that their curse could be broken? Same here!
Are you slowly starting to rally behind Penn State? I always have been behind the Nittany Lions, but there's plenty of room for support here in Happy Valley.
I am a bandwagoner and I'm proud.