Now Playing: Silversun Pickups – Swoon
Being a Chicago Blackhawks fan used to be simple. It was accepted that we were pretty much personae non gratae in the Chicago sports world (not at all unlike the team in question here). We would bitch and moan that no one paid attention to the once-great franchise that dominated this city’s heralded sports landscape. It was a Stonecutters-esque fraternity of unappreciated sports-loving masochists that made up the paltry (albeit publicly inflated) attendance numbers at the United Center year after year to watch sub-mediocre teams play to, and often below, the level of their opponent.
Fast forward to oh, say, the last two and a half years, when a new regime took control of this blogger’s favorite franchise. They have drafted one future superstar after another, not to mention developing and trading for a handful of fan favorites and assaulting the local and national media with press conferences for things as menial as considering a change in straw suppliers for the soda vendors.
Don’t get me wrong, Rocky Wirtz, John McDonough, and Jay Blunk have done an incredible job of making the Hawks a top-of-mind franchise to not only hockey fans, but all sports fans in Chicago and across the nation. They have re-energized what was a proud hockey contingency in the Windy City, and, on a personal note, validated a tattoo that was once mocked and made the butt of many a joke. But as the adage goes, no good deed goes unpunished.
As Blackhawks single-game tickets went on sale at 10:00 AM CT today, I witnessed a torrent of Facebook and Twitter feeds getting downright livid at the proliferation of so-called “bandwagon fans” buying up all the tickets leaving none for the (often self-proclaimed) “true fans”. Many of you who know me are aware of my allegiance to the Indian Head, but I think this kind of reaction is on the wrong side of ridiculous.
It’s absurd to want your favorite team to be the focus of all local sports coverage, have national stars, AND win the most cherished trophy in professional athletics and then expect everyone to say “Oh, my mistake, you’ve been a fan longer than I have, I’ll let you cut in the ticket-buying line for next season”.
The reality is the Blackhawks are the toast of the town, and everybody (right, wrong, or indifferent) wants a piece. Another reality is, the people who haven’t seen a game before 2008 are the ones that will make Rocky & Co. the money to keep doing the things they have done to resurrect an Original Six franchise.
I was in the building in the 2003-2004 season when they won a total of TWENTY GAMES in regulation, when the organization was feeding us the line that the A-B-C line was the second-coming of M-P-H, and using an astounding six (count ‘em SIX) goaltenders (two of which the Hawks faced this year), and the recently re-famed anthem was only accompanied by myself, 4 other knuckleheads, and crickets.
But all these “credentials” do not put put me in front of anyone else with the same currency at the ticket line. I’m happy that the Blackhawks franchise, and just as important, the sport of hockey , have garnered some sports credit once again in this city. I welcome all fans, new, renewed, and old into the United Center, because like I’ve said before, when the building is empty, it’s a LOT less fun. While that may mean less available tickets for many of us, if it means more success and recognition for the team sporting the best logo in professional sports, that’s a bullet I’m willing to take. And now I’m off to get my newest Blackhawks ink. Let the arguments commence.