Bandwagon fan and proud of it

I think L.A. is the best sports town in the United States, and possibly, the world.

No, there is no punch line.

New York? Please. New Yorkers have no tolerance for losers, and Iím sorry Ė losing is an integral part of sports. No Yankee fan will admit it, but itís true: When youíve got more rings than fingers, what difference does another one make?

Boston? Two great teams and less than a million people, no matter how storied the franchises, do not the greatest sports town make. (I donít count hockey, and letís face it: No one else in America does, either.)

Philadelphia? If your fans routinely pelt opposing players Ė and sometimes your own Ė with D-batteries, youíre not the nationís best sports town. Youíre a penal colony.

That leaves Chicago. Great sports town, but no. Sports mean too much there. Unless you like opera, the blues, or an endless variety of prepared meats, a sporting event is the hottest ticket on any given night in the Windy City.

Which is why Los Angeles is, to paraphrase Leonardo DiCaprio channeling Muhammad Ali on the prow of the Titanic, the king of sports world.

Here in LA, we not only tolerate losers Ė we encourage them. (Just stand up at any Laker game, and survey the crowd.) People went to Clippers games for hopeless decades before the team finally reached the Western Conference Semifinals this season. You know why? Because here in Los Angeles, we love basketball in a way no other city loves basketball. Plus, most of us canít afford anything but the nosebleeds at a Laker game. And even then, never more than two seats together.

History? Weíve got the Dodgers and the Lakers, franchises with remarkable histories. So what if no one knows what they are. Thatís nothing to scoff at. Thatís a choice. Angelenos follow the sage advice of the great sports enthusiast Albert Einstein: If we can look something up, why bother wasting precious brain space on it?

Unlike any other city, we put sports in their proper perspective. We heed the advice of UCLAís legendary coach John Wooden: Never get too high with the wins, or too low with the losses. It can mess up your hair.

And finally, weíre bandwagon fans. Thatís right Ė I not only accept it, I embrace it.

Sure, Iíve heard all the jokes: We show up late, we leave early, we only care about teams when theyíre winning. So what? You know what that sounds like to me? Common sense.

Besides, whatís so bad about a bandwagon? Know what a bandwagon is to me? A four-wheel conveyance that comes with its own music.

Hop on, people. Letís have some fun.

David Neiman is a freelance sportswriter whoís even happier to be a contributor to LA Observed than he is about being an LA sports fan. This is his first post, but far from his last.

July 25, 2006 12:54 AM • Native Intelligence • Email the editor

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