My Name is Dylan White, and I am a bandwagon Heat fan. Admission is the first step in recovery, and while I am fairly confident that excuses are not tolerated, I am compelled to tell you this: It isn’t my fault.
I live in an apartment with two Miami natives as roommates. Obviously, the Dolphins haven’t done anything of substance since Dan Marino, with the short-lived exception of the 2008 Sparano-Wildcat-Fluke. (OK, the current Dolphins team is improving, but lets be honest, no team gets scared when they see Miami on their football schedule. So my roommates have found themselves cheering more heavily for the Heat as the years have gone on. In fact, one of them refuses to sit down while the Heart are playing on TV, because “it’s a luck thing.” Myself, I am from a small town in Mississippi, a state with no professional sports teams. I have been forced to go out searching for “my teams.” Another bleak admission on my part, I probably never watched a full NBA game before I got to college. I’m fairly new to the game, and I never had that one team to cheer for. I often found myself rooting for players, not teams, and more often than not those “players” were Lebron James. That brings me to today – sitting in a house full of Miami Heat fans, no team to cheer for myself, and a Lebron James championship team waving me onto the wagon. And oh, what a comfortable wagon it looks like.
Now that I find myself squarely in the middle of the wagon labeled “Los Heat,” I’m in quite the predicament. As of December 31st my Heat are sitting pretty at 20-8, but to this point they have looked, well, mortal. They have a chance to be off to an even better start than last year, but they have lost games they shouldn’t have, and teams like New York may have the hot hand. But fear not, that is why I am here today. To help all of you other bandwagon fans prepare your arguments against the onslaught of anti-Heat propaganda sure to come your way. I recommend using any number of these arguments in response to any comment made. Oftentimes, in a sports argument context means little. Bandwagon fandom rarely allows for reality. It is really just about getting your point across. If that means yelling these sentences at the top of your lungs while ignoring your friend pestering you with logical counterpoints, then yell at the top of your lungs. Every time our Heat loses a game, believe me, you are going to hear about it. The following are the appropriate responses:
1. “It’s the NBA. The regular season doesn’t mean shit!”
It’s the age-old adage; it just happens to be true. No one in the history of history knows why in the hell the NBA season is so long. Losing a regular season game means very little. Sure, if you lose enough of them you will miss the playoffs or get stuck with a bad seed, but no one game will make or break a season. When a team is asked to play 82 games in the regular season, they are bound to phone a couple of them in. It can’t be helped. No team will ever finish the NBA regular season undefeated. It just isn’t possible for a team to stay physically and mentally healthy enough to win every game. That means when our Heat lose a game to the Washington Wizards, it doesn’t really matter. We phoned it in, and before the season is over, it will likely happen again with one team or another. But in the end everyone knows who the better team actually is.
2. “C’mon man, the only reason you are bragging is because we are the defending champs! Everyone else measures their success on whether or not they can beat us, that shows you just how good we are!”
It is common for other teams to base their legitimacy off of whether or not they beat the Heat. If a team is considered a fraud or real is often determined by the way they play the Heat. Why wouldn’t they? The Miami Heat are the defending world champions. They are the best team in the NBA. It only makes sense that other teams would see that and base their perspective on their ability to play our Heat. And to be honest, that is the way it should be. That giddy fan throwing a win in your face is actually admitting our dominance, just be sure to point it out to him.
3. “Who cares if [insert rival fan’s team] beat us? We played the Celtics 4 times in the regular season last year, and we lost 3. Guess what? We won when it counted! AND we will do it again!”
This is really an extension of number one. Because the season is so long and unimportant, we are bound to lose a game and a fan of the winning team is going to come looking for you. Just remind them of that statistic. The Celtics took 3 of 4 against the Heat in the regular season, only to get beat in the playoffs. We show up to win in the games that count. That is all that matters. Flaunt the fact that we have been beaten before, but we are still playing with a brad new ring on our finger. Next year, we will have two. (It is possible that you jumped on the wagon after Dwayne Wade won their first title without Lebron. If that is the case, you can say 3.)
4. “3 Words: The. Big. Three.”
Everyone knows who the big three are. Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh. And while they may not all show up to play in the same game, usually at least one of them is there to carry the team. Just tell them that Lebron can do this. D-Wade can do this. And Chris Bosh can do this. (Yes, I think Chris Bosh looks like a meerkat. I think that because he does.) Eh, leaving Bosh out of the discussion may not be a bad idea.
And if all else fails…
5. “F%@& off. Los Heat! Soon to be back-to-back-champs!”
For that overly enthusiastic friend who refuses to let up with all of his “reason,” this is the last resort. It is pure rhetoric. There is no argument involved, no point to be made, only blind faith in our team. It is a self-awareness of all of the above arguments combined with a lack of caring if anyone else sees the brilliance in them. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says or thinks, only what you know – the Heat will win it all. Again.
By: Dylan S. White