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Gabbing with Grace: hopping on the bandwagon

Managing+Editor+Grace+Sherban+discusses+the+pros+and+cons+of+joining+popular+trends+such+as+Owala+water+bottles.
Grace Sherban
Managing Editor Grace Sherban discusses the pros and cons of joining popular trends such as Owala water bottles.

Recently, I fell victim to herd mentality when I purchased an Owala water bottle. The reason behind this investment was pure carelessness since I unfortunately lost my old water bottle, a gift from a high school friend. After contemplating how to proceed, I decided to treat myself to an Owala because I liked being able to choose between sipping or chugging my water. However, it just so happens that everyone and their mother are buying Owalas as of the writing of this column.

As someone who has poked fun at the concept of the “designer water bottle” trend and commodification of something as simple as a beverage container, I must swallow my pride and admit that the Owala is worth the hype. But since this purchase, I have noticed my own skewed judgment of those that jump on the bandwagon.

The Owala and Stanley Cup trends are a microcosm of this sentiment and, upon researching the rise of each bottle, there is a clear pattern of people purchasing one simply because they are influenced by others. While I am against the rampant consumerism that these trends feed, I don’t think it’s a bad thing to get one nice water bottle to use until it no longer insulates. Even if it may be “cool girl” of me to get a popular brand, at the end of the day, who cares?

The concept of the bandwagon effect is usually associated with indecisiveness, people who see something that is well liked and popular at the moment which they can attach to. Whether it be TV shows, movies, books, products or other things, the bandwagon provides people with a temporary interest and a common community to engage with.

My first real memory of the whole bandwagon concept was in middle school when everyone joked around with a fellow classmate who liked a college sports team that he had no affiliation with. While I agreed with the herd in that instance, I do not think I would side with them in retrospect.

For instance, like everyone else in the nation, I have been tuning into the women’s NCAA National Tournament to watch players like Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese and Paige Bueckers absolutely dominate the sports world. At JCU, I am unable to watch many live sporting events since I do not subscribe to any streaming services that provide coverage of games. However, when I am home, I do watch more SportsCenter than some people may believe.

Yet, I have done everything in my power to watch as many games as possible after coming back to campus from Easter break. This effort has included using several of my friends’ free 20 minutes of YouTube TV which, between the three of us using our school and personal emails, got us 80 minutes of viewing the Iowa/LSU game. Now that’s what I call commitment.

Two years ago I may have possessed a small interest in the championship game, but now I am fully immersed in the match and everything surrounding it. I am completely aware that my sudden intense passion in this tournament is considered hopping on the bandwagon, but I have no remorse. Sorry. I’m not the only one.

I do think it is important to remember that the bandwagon may be great for exposure to athletes or companies but it also entails harsh scrutiny. Caitlin Clark was everyone’s favorite player when she broke the all time scoring record for Division One basketball in Feb. 2024 with many self-proclaimed “experts” saying she held the ability to play in the NBA. Now, in April 2024, days after Iowa’s controversial win over UConn in the Final Four, the narrative has switched online to Clark being average, a crybaby who plays no defense. UConn’s star guard Paige Bueckers is now ESPN Instagram commenters’ “best to ever hold a ball in the women’s game” darling, stating that if she never tore her ACL, Clark wouldn’t even be relevant.

So are we not going to talk about the sudden disdain for Clark’s accomplishments? When is Bueckers going to be painted as the villain when the next star freshman begins their D1 career? I didn’t even go in depth on the unnecessary criticism of Angel Reese. This is all just an endless journey on the pothole-filled path that bandwagons traverse.

I will end with this: It’s okay to like someone or something when they are having a moment in the spotlight. It’s okay to bounce from interest to interest as long as you do not criticize a former passion just for the sake of it being unpopular for no solid reason. Just stay loyal and respect the accomplishments of something that is bigger than yourself.

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About the Contributor
Grace Sherban
Grace Sherban, Editor-in-Chief
Managing Editor Grace Sally Sherban was born in the early hours on Tuesday May 20, 2003. She spent most of her childhood hooting, hollering and joshing around while constantly reading and watching movies in between. She continues to do much of the same now while double majoring in Communications and English so she stays busy between all the hooting, hollering, joshing around, listening to herself talk, class, walking in the rain and work. Grace’s biggest goal in life is to write a comprehensive novel about the 1955 Academy Awards Best Actress race and its implications on the movie industry. To request the slideshow on the 1955 Academy Awards Best Actress race, she can be reached at [email protected]

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