Curle: The Shakiest Bandwagon in the South

Let's face facts, folks. It ain't easy being a Wolfpack fan. It may seem like an easy proposition. You simply pull for the Red and White all the time, in every game, and it's a done deal, right?

If it were only that simple. Frankly, there are few things on this planet short of removing asbestos for a living that will trim years off your life like pulling for the Wolfpack. Often times, pulling for State is a gut-wrenching, down-to-the-wire affair, no matter whether the Pack wins or loses. These are the games that make staying on the State "bandwagon" a very daunting proposition.

With losses in the past week to Carolina and to Maryland, State's once-full basketball bandwagon is now once again experiencing a mild exodus. With a match up looming in the near future against Wake Forest, another team in the throes of sputtering success, many Pack fans are just plain confused as to where they stand with the team and its coach.

Can we beat team X on the road? Can we hit our threes? Can we compete down low? Just how good is this team? These are the questions that constantly plague a Wolfpack fan. It seems with each game a few fans jump on the bandwagon and a few jump off, or vice versa. With all of this jumping on and jumping off, the Wolfpack bandwagon suspension is really taking a licking.

Take, for instance, this poster from Statefans.com. Here's a prime example of a fan that just wants some consistency.

"We continue to refuse to succeed...I would like to reiterate my statement that I joined the ‘Herb Bandwagon' thread as a conditional member and I now officially renounce my membership and I ain't (sic) coming back (so don't bother asking)..."

Who's to say that this poster won't be back on the bandwagon two weeks from now if the Pack wins two games in the ACC Tournament? Or a month from now if the Pack makes it to the Elite 8 or beyond? Success seems so fleeting, it's hard to blame people for trying to enjoy it when it's here, even if the track record seems to suggest that it will be gone soon.

It would be rough if this type of scenario only occurred once every few years. But it's down right agonizing on-again, off-again nature of the NC State basketball team that frustrates so many Wolfpack fans year-in and year-out.

I'll admit that I, too, was a bandwagon jumper at the beginning of the season. After dropping all three of our road out-of-conference games, I was sure that the Pack would falter and that coach Sendek would be sent with his walking papers.

Then came the ACC season. We beat Georgia Tech, then Maryland on the road, the Duke at home, and I was back on. For good, I said to myself.

Then came Clemson, then Carolina and now Maryland at home. Now I'm tee-tottering on the brink of falling off again. Is this team really 2nd-place good? You would be hard pressed to justify it looking at the way we played in those three games. Are we going to learn how to beat a zone defense? Can we play as the favorite and not just as an underdog?

It seems with every game, every week or every year, the questions always change but the doubt always remains. When will State fans feel comfortable being a State fan? The likely answer to that question is never, no matter how much success the team enjoys or who's at the helm of the program.


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