Wednesday, May 18, 2011
The Most Hated Person In Sports: The Front Runner
George Carlin had his famous 7 dirty words you can't say on television routine back in the '70s, and while most of those have changed with the shifting morals of acceptability on tv, there are still a handful of words that could start a fight in most locker rooms and sports bars: Choker, flopper, Mets fan and maybe the worst label, frontrunner. Those other names usually reference a flaw in your game or mentality that could be fixed or reversed with the right image-changing moments (just ask Dirk). But a front-runner is the worst kind of sports person, be it a fan or player, coach, whatever. An emotionally weak person who latches on to the successes of others (at least that's how it's perceived).
We all know a few front-runners in our lives. That kid from your office who all of a sudden is a die-hard Heat fan and probably doesn't even know who Bimbo Coles is. The guy at the deli in the Cowboys Jacket who's never left Brooklyn but lives and dies for the 'Boys, or the Jordan fanatic turned Kobe lover turned LeBron supporter (I'm partly guilty of this one). These types are everywhere. In New York, we get a ton of these characters; just take a look around you on the subway when the Jets were making their recent runs. I never knew there were that many Green and white supporters during the Rich Kotite years, because there weren't. Or the bandwagon jumping Knicks fans who ran out to get their Carmelo #7 t-shirts, and then quickly remembered why they jumped ship in the first place. Those types of fans, though, are preferable to the die-hards for teams that aren't even in their city. The guy who grew up being a Braves and Cowboys fan because of their dominance in the '90s are way worse than the fan who wakes up to root for his home-town team whenever they start winning. You can witness this phenomenon any Winter Sunday at your local bar. There's no way that many people moved here from Pittsburgh (I don't even think that many people live in Pittsburgh, I've never met one person actually from there).
Why do we hate these guys so much? Because they like to take the easy way out, rooting for whatever team is on the winning side at any given time. Die-hard sports fans who stick with their team through the good, the basd and the Isiah, can't stand the preening idiot in the Stoudemire jersey who swears he's been down since day one, while the true fans bear the scars of Shandon Anderson and Jerome James starting lineups. This is also the reason so many people hate LeBron and Bosh (and to a lesser extent Wade). As many people have pointed out since last July, these two carpetbaggers couldn't handle things on their own and had to team up and form some kind of a half-assed super team. Fans can't just trade in their team allegiances (they could but deep down they still care about whatever team they ditched). We all wish we could call our agents and say, I'm done with these asshole Mets, I want to be a part of a winner, but it's not that easy and we don't want to be perceived as douche-bag frontrunners, a gene that Cowboys, Yankees and Notre Dame fan LeBron lacks.
So, next time a Heat fan asks you why you're one of the millions of people rooting for the Bulls and (if they fail) whoever makes it out of the West, tell them you just can't stand a front-runner and then get ready to fight.