Today we have a guest blog from Tim Chipp, formerly of LetsGoSabres.com. He’s a 28-year-old, born-and-raised Buffalonian. Yeah, that means he call them chicken wings, he knows what beef on ‘weck is, and cheers for the only National Hockey League team wearing blue and gold. Read, enjoy, follow him on Twitter, and tell him what you think!
When I was asked to write a guest blog for View From My Seats, I was unsure of what to rant and rave about. I haven’t been putting much thought into the Colin Campbell mess, so there goes that idea. Making snap judgments about something I haven’t got all the information on seems irresponsible to me. And Matt already tackled that topic here.
So I got to thinking, what else is there to talk about, from a league-wide perspective, that I can go off about? There doesn’t seem to be the controversy, aside from the league disciplinarian’s apparent inability to be professional at all times, that usually bubbles up by this point in the season. No one is yet talking trades, and the general manager meetings earlier this month produced nothing of substance except the immediate death of instant replay for non-goals in hockey.
So what if I ranted and raved about ranting and raving? I feel, as a person putting forth my views for you to read, there needs to be some civility, some lack of crazy on my part. Some understanding and levelheadedness. It’s an attitude which has navigated me through years of watching underachieving players and missed team opportunities, as well as success beyond expectations. Here in Buffalo, the fans have lived both extremes within the last five years.
Every day I’m confronted with the fan who goes to extremes. Maybe you know him too. Or maybe you are him. This person is categorized as that Facebook friend who posts how atrocious a team is after the season is a week old, or the one who claims Stanley Cup championship credentials on a message board after the team’s first win of the season.
It’s always been my belief that these fans, whether they’re too positive or negative, set themselves up for heartbreak. A negative fan is always expecting the worst of his team. Even when something goes well they begin dismissing, instead finding flaws in either individual performances or the team as a whole. And, well, if you’re too positive, you have a 31/32 chance of being disappointed (or 1/32 chance of success since we’re talking positive here) come season’s end. Hardly great odds.
What I despise, both in sports and in life, is the “what have you done for me lately” attitude being displayed more often than not, especially from those who are overtly negative. It’s entirely too short-sighted. And never have I been presented with this quite like I was immediately following Ilya Kovalchuk’s missed shootout attempt last week in the game between the New Jersey Devils and the Buffalo Sabres. I saw instances of people so depressed by their team’s struggle to win, fans became caught up in being negative. Devils faithful were commenting on Facebook and Twitter just how upset they were. I even read one who said he threw his No. 17 jersey on the ice in protest.
Yes, folks, Kovalchuk has been bad so far. And Devils fans, like fans of all the other underachieving teams out there, have a right to get angry. We all pay good money in a bad economy to watch other people skate around and play a game for a living. We expect success, especially from one of the league’s most successful players. But this kind of attitude is unacceptable from adults. Where’s the distance thinking here? The ability to understand that one game, or even one week, doesn’t lose a whole season, let alone make a 10-year contract worthless?
In fandom, the only real way to survive, to remain sane, is to cheer with passion but not let the passion overwhelm your thought process; to carry your expectations around with you, but not on your sleeve. Because at the end of the day, at the end of the season, only one team’s fans get to walk around with that championship swagger. If it’s your team, great. But if it isn’t, it’s not the end of the world. It’s more like the statistical normal.
How you deal with this determines what kind of fan you are. Are you crazy, or are you one who enjoys the game for what it is? I look forward to conversing with you normal folks more. As for you crazies, well, I’m sure you’re too busy jumping off bridges or planning your Stanley Cup parades to care what one person has to say.