The past week has been a rough one for many Caniacs. They have gone through a coaching change, their favorite team has lost several recent games on home ice, injured players are the norm, and negativity abounds. A few days ago, I received an email from a fan who offered some perspective.
This was contributed by Drew from Apex-
Remember when you were young and you loved your favorite sports team. It didn't matter which team it was; they were your team. I never got to go to a hockey game when I was younger, but I watched a bunch of the games on TV. Most of the games were not on TV, so you had to either listen to the radio or keep up with the box scores. My friend Ron and I would always talk about hockey and the great goals from last night, even though we were supposed to be learning something in class. Who needs Social Studies, right? Back then I knew how to draw all the NHL team uniforms and logos and would tirelessly add the color to my drawings. Ron would do some nice black and white sketches of goalies, which were his favorites.
You played street hockey whenever you could get enough players, and I still can remember how bad those street hockey balls hurt when it was cold. If you were the goalie that day, you had to use a baseball glove, which did the job fine. You got your trusty Mylec stick ready with tape and curved the blade to make it easier to control the ball. A few times we walked to the next borough and played in "The Cage", which was a rectangular fenced in area that would contain those wild slap shots and kept the play going non-stop. This was our version of playing a professional game.
Fans go through some things: moving, lockouts, trades, and they all have an effect on you. But sports, and especially hockey, always has a way to win me over and keep that little kid in me enthused about the game. You get older, move a few times, and save up enough money for season tickets. The first time to a hockey game you marvel at the speed and all the plays you missed on TV. The game is the same, but you really appreciate how well the players skate. You read the newspaper and listen to talk radio and hear all the negative things that we all have heard over and over. Thats a part of it, but there is a "bigger than me" and romantic aspect that keeps me interested.
The thing is, back then thing things were simpler. It wasn't about the business or trades, it was just the hockey. Maybe along the way I forgot some of that and got caught up in all recent changes to hockey over the last decade. Here's to being a hockey fan through thick and thin. The happy times and the sad times. It's my team, just like when I was young; I forgot for a little while, but now I'm back on track.
Drew makes a great point. It doesn't really matter if you have played the game before or just fell in love while watching it. Fans become passionate about a sport for various reasons and we all go through ups and downs throughout the fandom process. Perhaps during a down turn, it's a good time to take a deep breath and remember why we are all fans to begin with.
Thanks for sharing, Drew.