Saturday, October 27, 2007

Reflecting on Disappointment

I doubt there is a single UAA fan walking out of the arena or shutting down their webcast tonight that didn't experience disappointment. The promise showed by a reasonably quality win vs. Wayne State; the happiness at coming back against an NHL draft heavy BU squad for a tie; the elation that always accompanies a sweep of hated rival UAF; the gratification of the polls (regardless if we knew ... and told ourselves ... they didn't matter); the rarity of seeing players we love amongst the nations leaders; and finally the hope that we all share ... that somehow the team we most want to suceeed was somehow immune from performing like mere mortals. Isn't part of being a fan the belief that sneaks out from our unconscious that somehow "our guys" are (as the great Howard Cosell would say) "indifatigable". We saw it with our own eyes didn't we? We saw character in action; we saw heroic efforts; we saw creativity and even poetry on the ice; we saw "our guys" gave us all that and more in just a few games. The games this weekend had to have surprised all of us that have been so infected already this season. So ... What are we to make of it?

We saw some different things this weekend. We saw the best competition we've faced this season. The Mavericks weren't the rebuilding UAF squad in its first games with a new coach. The Mavericks weren't a young team filled with alleged NHL-caliber talent who haven't gelled (and are still likely to be a nightmare for anyone that plays them after they've found their identity). The Mavericks weren't a team in its last season playing on and for individual merit. The Mavericks were a team that came off a pair of really disappointing efforts and results on a long road trip Houghton. They followed that long road trip with another long one and they mostly got their shit together. It seemed that at every step Mankato disrupted UAA's efforts to get anything going. It would be apt to correct yesterdays "disjointed" with the word disrupted. A Seawolf on the puck tonight almost always was challenged. That was a new thing and a lesson to be learned. The WCHA isn't composed of teams that don't put forth that sort of effort every weekend regardless of their circumstances. It's a big factor in the WCHA's out of conference record being 20-5-4 so far this season. And UAA did it's share going 3-0-1.

What we are to make of it is that the disappoint we are collectively sharing regarding last nights game is a product of our own hopes. Big news eh? You already know the definition of disappointment. But I (and I imagine you) have allowed myself to become twitter-pated with the potential I've seen. That has suddenly changed, and having that rug pulled out isn't a simple thing to deal with. You look to things that were surely factors; but were they really responsible? You look to the unfortunate bounce, the blown call and to the near miss; you remember the "almost's", all in hope of finding an some self-satisfying explanation. In the end though we all know there are complexities and indefinable circumstances called (and again credit to Howard Cosell) "intangibles" whose surfaces we can barely grasp. When two groups of young men meet on the field of competition (especially amateur) there are hundreds of factors that contribute to the outcome. And young men in new circumstances playing hockey at a high level (that quite frankly is at least ECHL quality: yes I'm saying WCHA teams would do well versus ECHL competition) will be at times less than perfect. Of our disappointment then I say, we must therefore feel it (we can't avoid it) but not let not it temper our optimism or belief. Whether fan, player or coach we must remind ourselves that it just didn't go "our way" this weekend. And in the end, another WCHA weekend awaits.

10 comments:

Jeff said...

It's dissapointing that we lost, but every team has a bad weekend. I think MSU did a great job and earned their 3 points. UAA needs to grow and play more as a team next weekend and i wouldnt be surprised if they bounce back against the huskies. It will be nice if we have Beaverson and Crowder back too.

Kris said...

Disrupted does apply, but the word that kept coming to my mind during last night's game was 'lackluster'. Not as much effort coming out from the team. Give the LandCows credit they played hard and I am not sure I can say that about my team, except the last 15 minutes of the weekend (whoopie!!!). Yeah very disappointing. It seems like every year we are ready to climb out of the basement oh wait we can salvage 1!!!!! Point at home from Mankato, ridiculous is the only word that I can say. I right now don't even want to go to anymore games to watch another lackluster team without drive. We had that drive for our first four games then poof its gone.

It is very disappointing since I actually had numerous friends that were finally going to and getting excited about going to the games. I think they will be a lot less likely to come to anything other than the Cup and Classic again after this weekend. Well UAA can win fans but it has to keep them as well. Lackluster showings are not going to do that.

K off my rant now

Suze said...

That's very true Kris. Two years ago we brought two friends to a UAA game, one in which they played like this weekend, and they never came back. Now they are HUGE Aces fans.

Games like that are not going to fill the Sully.

annabelle said...

I can't believe how fickle fans can be. Honestly, the loss was a disappointment, but the team has shown great promise. These boys work very hard at practice daily to produce very good quality hockey. Appreciate what you have. The price is right. The atmosphere is what you make of it. My boy is on the team and i would love to be there to see him play. Again, appreciate the seawolves organization, it is great. Coming from a big city where the NHL ticket price is out of reach and the WHL hockey is mediocre, I stress the point-- support your local team, you are lucky to have this calibre hockey.

Suze said...

annabelle,

I do appreciate what we have. I do more for this team than you'll ever know. However, it is sad to see two nights, back to back, of lackluster performance. They are better than what we saw, they just didn't seem to have the desire to win.

Donald Dunlop said...

Annabelle:
I had a whole "Anchorage Fans Suck" post mostly all typed out. And I wouldn't disagree with you at all. I guess I should have included it in my potpourri post above but I deleted it just to save the rant.

This is a bandwagon sports town as far as sports fans go. It's sad but begins to ring more true everytime I see a turnout like Saturday. But the reality is that in a town of around 300,00 the Seawolves are competing for hockey fans with the Aces. And since they're compteting for Rubes that don't know that WCHA hockey is every bit as good as their ECHL product then we have to understand that those rube-bandwagonners are going to choose based on thier perception of winning.

The program is coming along and by season's end I think we'll see a team that took another step forward in terms of competitiveness in the league. If the Seawolves can be in a position to be fighting for a home ice playoff spot then I think the place would sell-out for the last series this year which is against Minnesota. Home ice would definitely get sellouts. Other than that we can all expect to see some times with lots of empty seats ... especially on any weekend when there's costume parties.

Anonymous said...

Right after the game I went to a costume party dressed a lackluster Seawolf fan. I wore no green and gold and only clapped when red lights flickered.

Donald Dunlop said...

Anon @ 12:39:
LOL. A quality comment.

Anonymous said...

Like coach says they are a young team and you are going to see a lot of ups and downs. What they can take from the weekend is that every WCHA team plays 60 minutes every time out. Doesn't matter where they are at in the standings you gotta lay it out every shift or you get shut out or score a goal a game. Mankato ALWAYS plays hard against us. Bottom line is 1st league games, 1st exposure to WCHA caliber, style, talent, etc. We'll improve.

will said...

I enjoy reading your blog, the rants, analysis, preview of the upcoming game, and the recap after each game. You provide a great description of what the team did and didn't do. Everyone had to be disappointed with the way the weekend ended up, but the season is early and the guys should learn from this weekend there will be no easy games in the WCHA. It was interesting to go back and read your blog from 2006 before our first weekend series in the 2006. There was the same expectaion that the guys were going to do great that first WCHA weekend and we all know how that ended up. So at least this year we have one point after the first week and every point counts. In the end I believe we will be there fighting for playoff game here at home. These guys have talent they need to put it all together this next weekend

Post a Comment