Monday, January 28, 2008

Supporting the Team: Being a Fan

I will endeavor here to bring forth my utmost eloquence with regard to the important subject of fan support. Sports fans indulge themselves in watching their favorite team engage in battle for a vicarious thrill. That is the core. Certainly there are tangents to that core rationale such as community or regional pride. However even in those tangential situations the voyeuristic vicarious enjoyment remains. Colloquially, we "get off" on it.

In my case, over my lifetime I've slowly abandoned viewing all the major professional sports. The egotistical salary hounds and greedy owners with their pissing contests and strikes have soured me permanently. I haven't watched an NHL or NFL game in years. I stopped watching and following baseball after the strike in the early 80's. For a time in the 80's living in Omaha I was a college basketball fan however lure of the NBA and the goals of the individual star players caused that game to lose it's glow.

Thankfully we have virtually none of that in college hockey. Sure, some players are using it in the hopes that it will lead to a gig in "the show". But most kids are playing in exchange for higher education. That is why I go. I go because the players are risking permanent physical injury to entertain us while trying to win a hockey game. They aren't giving it their all because someone stuffed a million bucks in their pocket. They aren't giving it their all because someone is likely to stuff a million bucks in their pocket. They are giving it their all for the purity of competition. For me it is the closest thing remaining to the once adhered to values of the Olympic games; that the participation is the most important thing; that as in life, the struggle surpasses in importance the triumph. Google "Bud Greenspan" and "The Olympiad" and buy the DVD set if you want to see someone put these ideals into words greater than I can. His documentaries defined the truth of sport for me and should be watched by anyone calling themselves a sports fan.

I disdain the fan at a UAA hockey game that boos the effort of the amateur student/athletes on the ice. Thankfully, such things don't happen very often. These young men deserve better. They deserve our full support. I know as well as everyone reading this that winning makes the experience better. But you know what? Losing shouldn't detract from it. Whether the team won or lost in the past has no bearing on the efforts of the current team. If you are the kind of fan that will come to the rink for half a season and then stop going because the team hasn't lived up to expectations then I'd implore you to stop going altogether. Don't turn up next season. And please don't show up when the team starts exceeding predictions and/or expectations. There is nothing worse in my mind than a bandwagon fan.

I know when the team wins, that the Sullivan Arena will start to fill up. And I know I'll be sitting in my seat looking around thinking, "Half you bastards don't deserve to be getting this vicarious enjoyment". Now to be less than eloquent: If you don't dig what you're seeing then stay home wanker. I know we all want the team to succeed for their own sakes; but for now that success is likely to be intermittent. There are many many reasons for that but it is the reality today. Tomorrow is another day. I'll be at the Sullivan for the today's, tomorrow's and the next day's. Join me for the pleasure of the game and the effort of the squad. They deserve it. If they win great, but I applaud the struggle and the purity of their competitive spirit.

I like the picture below. It says what I'm trying to say but from the players perspective. It does a better job of it than I have. Click it to enlarge it and then read it several times.

Thanks for reading my blog. This entry is in no way directed at anyone specifically or any comments made here but instead is the product of my thoughts regarding some of the comments. Hopefully, it gives everyone something to ponder.

15 comments:

Siouxfan_inDenver said...

Good post.

Anonymous said...

I agree, it's a good post, but having been a season ticket holder for 20+ years, it is so depressing to start the year with so much hope, only to see it slip away after mid season. They are great kids, but they need to learn how to win, and that isn't last year or the year before that, but every year since they joined the WCHA. This year included. I understand that if they played .500 hockey one year, they would be right back at the old attendance levels. People don't follow the Aces, which I also have season tickets for, because it is a less pure game, but because you feel they can win any given night they show up. That is the difference between the UAA of old and the post WCHA era. Hopefully Shyak will keep bringing in the quality players he has and this team can get back to being something besides the underdog we all want to root for. JSthlin

Jeff said...

if you ask me Half the people who go to aces games are bandwagon fans, but that's just my opinion. Anyway my profile on Josh Lunden comes out in tomorrow's paper and it should be on the northern light website too. let me know what you all think.

Sioux_Me in GF said...

Much like the venerable INCH (www.insidecollegehockey.com) site, you have done a great job of "just trying to catch the spirit of the thing." Your unabashed support of UAA hockey is commendable. Even in Grand Forks there are plenty of bandwagon fans -- and we usually have lots to cheer about! Your coaching staff is a classy bunch, too. I hope they can continue to build the store of "raw material" it takes to establish a strong winning tradition up North.

RR said...

Good post. I share your views on pro sports. Too many other things in life worth doing than to follow pro sports. (except golf and NASCAR and pro bull riding)

Anonymous said...

Great post. All is good when your team is winning, but it does not solve all problems- first place then becomes the only option. However I hope the Seawolves are in that position in the near future. When your team is down is when we need to support them. 90% of the games could have had a different outcome, but it just did not happen. But the fact that it could have is positive. The fact that we can out-shoot and out-play the top teams is proof that this team is going in the right direction. This group of guys have come from all over, having worked hard for years to play in the wcha. They do volunteer work, go to college and play the sport they love. All young hockey players should be encouraged to support the Seawolves as they probably have the same dreams. There could be worse role models.

Anonymous said...

Great post. College hockey runs through my veins. Pro sports aren't nearly the same and its not worth my money to go and watch a bunch of guys beat up on each other (average aces game). Just like you, I will be at the Sully today, tomorrow, and the day after for a UAA game. Rain or shine, sleet or snow, I will be there.

annabelle said...

Great post.

Anonymous said...

Although the Aces try to give the perception that they have "cleaned up their act" since joining the ECHL, they are still thugs on ice. College hockey is pure talent, and if they fight they get kicked out of the game.

Give me good, fast paced hockey any day!

Jeff said...

Ok. So, apparently they are not posting the Lunden profile on the northernlight website so if anyone wants to read it they are going to have to pick up the newspaper on campus

Anonymous said...

Yes you are correct about the team...They are students first then players...Also college is when the game is pure..No multi year, multi million dollar contracts...Everyone in the room is equal...They are all broke and living in the college dorm and, are just being students in college...Winning does change everything for the fans and the players...Winning makes school fun, homework is easier, and your relationship with your girl friend is great...
Every player stepping on the ice expects to win..That is why they play the game...D one hockey is a huge accomplishment for these players..Enjoy it with them..They have worked hard to get to this level win or lose root for the boys...

Anonymous said...

College sports in general are more enjoyable to watch...the fan atmosphere at games can dwarf the pro games. Love the atmosphere...

Anonymous said...

just watched the Shiak show and cant help but admire Coach keeping the faith.His energy seems real positive and it seems like the addition of a new Goalie plus maybe some scoring could be huge down the road.They seem to think there very close and confidence is everything..The boys need to say the hell with the past and start something Friday nite.. build on there first shift and carry the play from the last game in NorthDakota to Mich Tech..Goals are the key here..I think the Goaltending will be fine its just a matter of SCORING Goals...Have to have 3 plus..LETS GET THIS PARTY STARTED..

Anonymous said...

GO SEAWOLVES!!!!!

Bob said...

Great post. And I think if you replace UAA/Sullivan Arena with any of the struggling teams this year, it still applies. Instead of calling for the coach to be fired, or booing... these "wankers" need to support the team in good or bad.

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