Standing around a cooler and a pile of crushed Miller Lite cans there was a discussion last night. The topic... the Lockout to this point. The members of the discussion are an adult league hockey team in Richmond Va. We have former Pro players, former Collage players, and guys like me that played a little here and there. You ask any of our co-workers to describe one of us, the first thing they would say "he plays hockey." So to say we follow hockey is an understatement. We all have the teams we route for, the players we love. The conversation was not of love last night. The discussion was whether we would follow the NHL when it comes back.
I initially scoffed it off and told every one of them that they would showing up at my house to watch the Canes or heading over at Millsy's to watch the Penguins (since that seemed to be a weekly occurrence.) The discussion soon turned into they lost me as a fan.. and the majority agreed. The whole unified group really got me thinking. Im usually the guy that seems to "punish" himself over principals... not these guys... they love hockey and any excuse to have a beer. The bottom line... why waste the money, why waste your time? My time is an investment.. I wont get any of it back, no matter how hard I try. So why choose to invest my time in an unhealthy relationship?
I know alot of you feel similar. The complete disregard for the fans. This whole thing is so sad to me. Yes, I loved the Canes. It was part of my daily routine. Part of my excitement through any work day knowing at 7 there was a Canes game or the days I left work early to cruise on down to the RBC because Jerry picked me up an extra Ticket.
How as fans can we continue to support a league that every time the CBA expires they just lock out? This was the only strategy employed and it is a complete disrespect or disregard to the people that make the game possible. After-all there wouldn't be a league without the support of fans.
They have lost my $ and this lockout has taught me that routing for a sports franchise is no different than cheering on a corporation. Apple or Microsoft... all they want is your money, they could care less about the product as long as $ is generated and profits are maintained. How is a sports team any different? Its actually kinda scary to me that I have to be 36 years old and on my 3rd lockout to see it for what it is. I'm almost embarrassed how ignorant I have been!
They are expecting us to come back.. to beg them to allow us to spend our hard earned money on their product. The League thinks I'm the exact type of fan that they have no matter what. They are just worried about how long it takes to get back the casual fans. What would it mean if they opened to an empty building, with nothing but crickets cheering them on. That would be a statement. That would go along way.
What's the old saying....
Fool me once shame on you... fool me 2x shame on me... fool me 3x... Im an IDIOT and need my head examined. Because that is the definition of insanity! Yet that is exactly where we are at! Its not healthy to remain in a relationship where all I do is get completely let down. I will choose to stay away. Yes its a choice we all have. I wont even watch on TV. I cancelled Cable so I know I wont be getting the GameCenter package. No more ending every night with my favorite NHL On the Fly. Thank you NHL, Thank you for showing me how much money I wasted supporting a Brand, and thank you for teaching how to live without watching NHL hockey. Thanks for helping me live my life the past few months rather than sitting on my ass watching a product that is just concerned about units sold. I wont come back... I wont come back I promise. Honestly Im done even reading news about the lockout.
I wish the best to the Canes and the Cane faithful. I want to tell you to support them... What would they learn if you go running back the day they open the doors? They learn nothing! We as NHL fans are taken for granted. No fan should have to endure this process. Its not like they didnt know exactly when the CBA would expire. Its not like they were surprised it was up! Its not like they didnt have 6 years to discuss framework or build a relationship with each other. They are using this as the first step in negotiations... why should we support such a disregard. If any other industry tried to pull such an act we would just not buy the product. I will not be held hostage to Billionaires arguing with Millionaires over what % profit they want. This is completely disgusting and borders criminal. They may still have you running back to gates like Cattle but not me... I will not accept this treatment, its your choice how your are treated. They mock our intelligence every day. Do what you want.. at this point I don't care enough about it to organize a sit-out. Absence makes the heart grow fonder? Not from an abusive relationship... it can be seen as a reprieve. It can be seen as a moment of clarity. To see it for what it truly is.
Hate my opinion? I can see why. Say Im not a true canes fan? That would be completely unwarranted! A few of you know me on a personal level.... you know my passion for Hockey and the Canes... at some point we all have our breaking point.