So, it’s been three months and the team you love isn’t having the season you were dreaming of in September. Congratulations to you, then, because most fans of these teams have already given up. But you’re still holding out, either in spite of yourself or because your only wish to Santa Claus – or the Chanukah Armadillo – is for a win streak equal to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ current run. That, and a Kindle. And world peace. Oh, and a fish tank.
Holiday wishes aside, you won’t be seeing the playoffs this year, especially if things continue the way they have. Take the New York Islanders, for instance. That team is frustrated from front office to puck boy. John Tavares is even throwing fists at other non-fighters in an attempt to finally beat someone – anyone – at something. I think someone’s getting grumpy and is likely going to find coal in his stocking.
Eventually, success should find even them, given the level of young, highly-touted talent in the team’s system. But right now, things are at rock bottom. So how does a fan of the team continue cheering for a losing product? Well, most don’t. Those are the bandwagon folks. They’re not reading this post.
Cheering for a losing team is a lot like drinking alcohol: There’s a numbing feeling in your stomach, eventually you don’t hurt anymore when the team loses, and all you want to do is drink more. But since this is a family blog, and since promoting binge drinking as a way of masking your inner-Islanders-fan is not family-friendly, here are a few other tips to making sure you enjoy even the worst of records.
Before you grab another eggnog drink, first you should know cheering with friends is important. A companion, or two, or 5,000, make cheering for any team fun, even if they lose 10-1. Like with drinking alcohol, hockey at any level just isn’t the same if you’re alone. To keep a horrible result from dragging you down, find a buddy and watch a game together. It’s important this friend enjoys the same team you do, because it eliminates any possibility of teasing or tomfoolery that may come from the inevitable result. Bars are a great place to do this, as are living rooms of houses or apartments.
Another thing any fan of a losing team needs is wit. You need to own your team’s lack of wins with something that tells people you cheer in spite of the record, or better yet, because of it. Laugh off the struggles of the New Jersey Devils. Poke fun at the awful Ottawa Senators. If they’re your team, shield yourself from the critics and your non-fan friends by building up your defenses through quick comebacks and smart-alecky responses. Getting defensive is the only way to survive the harsh winter – or warm days on the beach for those of you in SoCal and Florida.
The final thing you need if you continue cheering for a losing team is fun. Away from hockey. Because you’ll need it. There’s no joy in a loss. Not for the players, the coaches, management, and especially the fans. So don’t expect any. Instead, find other things to surround yourself with, like a good book or your Twitter account, because putting too much weight on the failures of your favorite hockey team can really ruin the December fun.
But if all this fails, there’s only one thing fans need to help get them through tough days: alcohol. A beer or two helps. Or an eggnog. It’s Christmas season, after all, so Happy Holidays to you and yours, and enjoy your team, whether they’re in Pittsburgh, New York, Los Angeles or Calgary. Because there’s nothing like hockey in December. It’s the perfect time to sit back and watch, because that bad team may surprise you. Or maybe not.
Now, for the love of Pete, somebody please pass me my eggnog.