Why Do We Choose to Root for Certain Teams?

We all have a bandwagon team that we root for and if you say you don’t, you may want to take a look in the mirror. Let’s talk about mine. My favorite basketball player of all-time is Michael Jordan, who played at the University of North Carolina, but my bandwagon team is their arch-rivals the Duke Blue Devils. I get it all the time you can’t like Duke if Jordan is your favorite player. Why can’t I?

So, you have to automatically like the Tar Heels because Michael Jordan played there. I can remember becoming a Duke fan in 1990, long after Jordan played at UNC. As a kid I was able to see Duke at an open practice at McNichols Arena in Denver, Colo. before the Final Four. Being able to see a young Christian Laettner and Bobby Hurley up close was so awesome and from then, until the present day I have been hooked on the Duke Blue Devils basketball program. The funny thing is they got absolutely blasted by the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels in the championship game, 103-73 that year. Why in the world would I pick them as a team to root for. The next year everything changed and I think that is where the national Duke bandwagon began.

10-year old me watching the 1991 Blue Devils upset the undefeated and defending national champion, UNLV in the 1991 Final Four was one of the greatest basketball games I have ever watched. How Duke pulled off the miracle upset is one of the greatest moments in college basketball history. Outside of the Laettner miracle shot against Kentucky in 1992, it is one of my two favorite Duke memories. I can remember great moments as well as the not so great moments. The two UCONN losses in 1999 and 2004 or the early tournament exits when friends automatically text you as soon as they lose because Duke is a team you either like or you don’t, you have no in-between with them.

I think my favorite thing with bandwagon teams is the rivalry we have with our friends. We all go through the back-and-forth trash talking and bickering, but what fun would it be if we all liked the same sports teams. I almost on a yearly basis know that I will be getting a phone call or text message the moment Duke’s season comes to an end because people love seeing the well-known teams take a loss. That is what makes the Blue Devils five nation titles that much sweeter.

Now I have seen Duke play one time officially in the 2003 Sweet 16 where they lost to the Kansas Jayhawks and have visited their campus once. Does this mean that I can’t root for them? I have followed this team since 1990 and love the program and the players, but just because I didn’t go to school there or live in the state of North Carolina I can’t root for them. Being a bandwagon fan is what makes sports great and as much as I like Michael Jordan the basketball player I don’t have to like the university he attended.

Now I definitely love my hometown teams and the university I attended, but that is a story for another time. Can you now go back in time and think of why you like a team that is not in the area you grew up in and why you came to cheer for them. Leave me a comment and let me know why you chose the bandwagon team you did.

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