I remember going to a night game a few years ago when the Yankees were in town to play the Indians. The place was loaded with Yankees fans screaming and yelling in their pinstriped shirts and navy blue hats as the Yankees took a two run lead and it couldn’t have been more fun—“let’s go Yankees”. And then in about the fifth inning when the Indians came back and took a three run and then a five run lead the hats of the father-son Yankees fans duo sitting in front of us disappeared and now they were Tribe fans. I glanced around Progressive Field and most of “let’s go Yankees” had left. Just like that the frontrunners had slipped out. There was nothing to them but the shirts and hats and their desperate need to glom onto a winner.
I think that the Urban Dictionary best defines frontrunners:
People who only support sports teams that recently won championships and then claim they liked that team all along. These people can be highly annoying, approaching them may result in increased levels of stress and aggression. Frontrunners may claim they have a relative or were born in the state where the winning team is from. Do not trust them at any cost.
Do not trust them at any cost and why? Because it’s not about the team it’s all about the frontrunner’s sad attempt to cast themselves as winners. Somehow, in their minds, putting on that Yankees hat turns a loser into a winner.
In the world of sports it’s annoying. In the rest of the world it can affect the way in which we live and the governance of the nation. When we have elections where polls drive the campaign being able to capture the frontrunners is crucial since the addition of bodies builds momentum and attracts even more frontrunners. Since winning means not losing, not being the loser, not being a loser, the campaign emphasis can shift from discussing and debating the issues to defining the opponent as a loser which then makes our candidate and the frontrunners, winners. No sense in discussing the issues since, “my esteemed opponent isn’t cool, isn’t hip, isn’t a hipster, isn’t one of us–he’s a loser”. Tell us the cool things that we want to hear so that jumping on the bandwagon let’s everyone know just how cool we are. Policies? Who cares, we’re winning, hurray for the candidate, hurray for us, hurray for me. No commitment to the candidate is needed other than a commitment of, “I’m for you as long as you’re winning so I can be a winner too”. I want to put on the cap.
We have descended into a world where accomplishments or good works or even effort are not necessary. High self esteem is what is important: feel like a winner—be a winner. This is where the participation mentality has taken us. No knowledge, no understanding, no effort, no work, no commitment, just winning—get yourself a trophy.
The Yankees are in town in April. Where’s my hat?