Ryan Woolley
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November 24 - Hop On, Hop Off

bandwagon - n 1: a popular trend that attracts growing support; "when they saw how things were
going everybody jumped on the bandwagon"

I briefly mentioned this subject at the end of the my At The Rink piece, and it's something that has
gnawed at me as a fan for a long time. In the middle of the first period of the game, the Canucks were
down 2-1. Directly behind me was a woman who started ripping on new Canucks goalie Roberto
Luongo. I for one, was thrilled to see him join the team, knowing him from his past in Florida and in
international play for the Canadian Men's Hockey team in different competitions. I figured most fans
would be like minded, and give him a chance. Boy, was I wrong. She said "I thought this guy was the
best goalie we've ever had. He sucks." Now keep in mind, this was the first period of the home
opener, and the first game in which Luongo was playing in Vancouver a Canuck.

THE FIRST GAME. IN THE FIRST PERIOD. "HE SUCKS", halfway into a period. The first time he'd
stepped onto the ice in Vancouver as a Canuck. It was bizarre that someone would so quickly start
slamming a player who they had barely seen. Of course, these comments continued during the
game, from both her as well as other people in the section, until a group of us started a loud chant
which I can't repeat here, which kept them quiet for the rest of the game thankfully.

Whatever happened to giving people a chance? Have we, as fans, truly gotten so impatient that we
can't wait for success? One bad game can be cause for being the source of much wrath nowadays.
These situations have become so commonplace, it makes you wonder what the definition of a fan
really is.

For an example of the bandwagon at its best, let's point to current New Orleans Saints QB Drew
Brees. Brees is one of the better QB's in the league right now , but back in 2003 led the Chargers to a
4-12 record, even getting benched for Doug Flutie at certain points of the season. The Chargers
picked Eli Manning #1 in the following draft and then traded for Phillip Rivers. Now, how many people
in San Diego would have wanted Brees quarterbacking the team after a 4-12 season? That's right,
none of them. However, when Rivers decided to hold out, they Chargers had to give the job to Brees.
Look at what happened. He jumped to the top of the statistics charts, got selected to the Pro Bowl,
and won the Comeback Player of the Year award, leading the team to a 12-4 season, where they
went out in the first round to the New York Jets. He then had another solid season in 2005, posting a
career high in passing yards, but unfortunately was injured in the last game of the season. Brees
became a darling in San Diego during this time, but before that he was basically a nobody. No one
could have said they believed in him as the QB of the team. Then, when he started to improve, and
showed that he could lead the team, everyone was in love with him, to the point where when he
turned down the Chargers offer, people wondered whether Phillip Rivers could live up to the
standards of Brees. Of course, Rivers has done very well, but he had his doubters as well as to
whether he could handle the reins. It just shows how fickle and impatient a lot of "fans" are. How dare
we let someone develop their skills for a year or two before they get thrown under the bus? The lack
of patience is sickening.

This is something you see in every sport, and often it gets perpetuated by the media. Eli Manning
can't lead the Giants. Ben Roethlisberger isn't as good as he appeared. I could go on and on and on
with more of this, because it keeps coming out all the time. It'll never stop, and someday I imagine I'll
be alone on the Canucks bandwagon with a few others as it burns to the ground someday, because I
truly know what it's like to be a fan, and I wish everyone else would learn what it's like when you
actually stand by your team, no matter what. The ups and the downs. When you cheer for that one
team, and that one team only. You never desert them when they are down. Watching your team reach
the pinnacle of success, and knowing that you were there that whole journey is the most fulfilling
feeling you can ever have as a fan, and if some people weren't so quick to jump off the wagon, maybe
they'd see that.