It was indeed a magical night for the Dodgers one week ago, with four straight home runs in the bottom of the ninth capped off by a game-winning home run in extra innings.
Not as noticeable, however, was how the game brought out the truth behind team support in Los Angeles. Some fans stayed to watch their team through it all while others chose the easy route and decided to leave early.
Those who chose the early departure, besides missing a historical moment, seem to miss the true meaning of being a fan. Throughout the years, L.A. sports teams have had to endure fluctuations of fan support. Face it, the city is full of fickle fans. Obviously, sports teams will not always be winners, yet other cities such as Green Bay, Boston and Chicago continue to support their teams even through rough times. Yet L.A. has not shown the dedication to do so. It has become a trend throughout all sports.
Whoever created the idea that “people follow a winner” must have been specifically thinking of the people of Los Angeles.
Since the last Lakers championship season, there has been a noticeable decrease in the amount of Laker gear worn around the city. Where have all the Laker flags that hung out car windows so proudly during the Shaq and Kobe years gone? The purple and gold has become a vague memory from our past.
Previously, L.A. had basically been a one-basketball team city. The Clippers played one of their best seasons last year and saw a considerable amount of increase in fan support last season. If the Clippers have indeed turned things around, perhaps we shall witness a switch in the city’s favorite team.
The Anaheim Angel fan base practically grew overnight the year they won the World Series. Fans for the Angels have stayed somewhat consistent the past few years, but mainly because their team has been on top of the AL West. They struggled during the early part of the 2006 season and seemed to have gotten things together but fell behind once again. During their 2006 struggles, it seems fans have struggled to stay consistently supportive of them.
In college football, the USC Trojans saw a huge increase in fan support during the Bush/Leinart years, but the hype seems to have died down since then. Less than a year ago, Trojan paraphernalia could be seen left and right, but now it is not as common to run into someone wearing a Trojan football shirt or hat. You can’t help but wonder where all the Trojan supporters would be had Bush and Leinart attended a different school, perhaps UCLA.
Even in hockey it has become apparent. The Anaheim Mighty Ducks flirted with a possible championship run during the 2002-2003 season before losing in the Stanley Cup Finals. That particular run didn’t only bring fan support but also attention to a sport that gets dismal coverage.
This same lack of consistent support hits closer to home at CSUN. Remember the run the men’s basketball team went on a few years back? A jam-packed gym was a regular event but today is a rarity.
A lack of school spirit hangs over Northridge. Don’t expect Nothridge athletics to become a success overnight. The fan base needs to be established first and success will follow. You can’t win them all but just because that is the case doesn’t make it all right to follow whoever is winning at the time. Pick a team and stick with them.