Monday, May 11, 2009

Becoming a Fan

On Saturday night, the Buffalo Bandits were defeated by the New York Titans 9-3, eliminating them from the NLL playoffs and a chance at a repeat championship.

It took me a couple of days to really sort through how I felt about this loss. After most of the Bandits losses this season, I've stayed relatively unaffected. Sure, I'm usually sad that they lost, but I'm usually more upset that my two best friends, two dedicated Bandits fans, are going to be so miserable for the next week. I was almost glad that I was able to keep myself from falling head-over-heels for this team because I knew that I could at least save myself some heartbreak.

Saturday night's loss ended all hopes of objective lacrosse viewing for me.

I'll admit it now...I am a Bandits fan.

I know that this sounds strange. I live in Buffalo, I'm even a season ticket holder. Naturally, I should be a fan. It should not have taken me an entire season to become one. I guess it all boils sown to how I define being a fan.

Liking the games, enjoying the atmosphere, feeling a high when a team wins - that's enough to be considered a fan of a team for most people. For me, though, that's not nearly enough.

Being a fan for me is like being in a relationship. There are the teams you flirt with but know that they'll never amount to anything, and you'll probably forget about them in a few hours (Pittsburgh Penguins of last year's playoffs). There's the ones that you hang out with every once in a while but you know they're not "the one" (Vancouver Canucks, Indianapolis Colts).

Then there's the team that you hang out with for a whole season with the feeling that this could turn into something special. They could be something exclusive, something very few will ever be...your team. It's just that you've had your heart broken very recently by a few teasing teams that made you believe they were something that they weren't.

Saturday night, this new team broke my heart again the same way the others did - by not showing up in a game that mattered immensely. I got mad at them, and that, to me, is the key to being a true fan of a team. You get upset, you fight with them, but, in your heart you know that, like any good relationship, you can get through it. You still love them anyway.

The Bandits may have lost the game, but they won a fan on Saturday. I know that this doesn't matter at all to them, but it's something special for me. When I give my heart to one of "my teams," I give it totally, and the Bandits join the Sabres, Bills, and Duke Blue Devils on a very short list in my heart.

Even though the loss hurt, even though I'm still mad that my first season as a season ticket holder ended in an offensive failure, I'll be back. Because I'm a fan, and that's what we do.


Shelby Rose said...

I'm not a fan of the Bandits myself mainly because I've never been to a lacrosse game. I think it would be fun to go to one game to see how it is. The atmosphere sure does seem awesome.

I watched the game on Saturday so that I could keep Kim updated on the score, but I couldn't help but feel a pain of remorse for watching them lose. Especially since I really thought they could defend their title for a second straight year. I think it's being a Buffalonian that makes me feel that way, even if I might not care for the team that much.

Katie said...

I think it would be fun to go to one game to see how it is. The atmosphere sure does seem awesome.We really need to get you to a game next season! They are unlike anything else I have ever experienced (in a good way!).

Oh well, as I have come to say around here (too much)...there's always next year...