Hey Jackets Fans, How Do You Grieve?
- Updated: January 21, 2016
One of the common themes I’ve seen on Twitter and Facebook this year is the barrage of negativity from “fans”. With the lofty expectations this year, I can fully understand the frustration, but calling for players to be cut, traded or sent to Northern Siberia is absurd. Also this group of people who say Jarmo and JD should hit the road boggle my mind as well.
Yes, we as paying fans feel like we are wasting our money sometimes, but remember this : If we don’t show up to games, there will be no team to put on the ice. Revenue drops means payroll drops means no “star” players.
Everyone has their own way of dealing with their sports teams not playing well, or in game cases, not playing at all.
How do you grieve?
The way I grieve, is that i remain silent and keep it to myself. I don’t rip the team or the players. I may privately bang my head against the wall and curse, but I refrain from hiding behind my keyboard and bashing the team. I may vent every now and then, but my focus is on keeping other fans positive. And being a fan of the CBJ from day 1, there have been lots of negativity.
I always try to see the positives in every situation. This year for example has been a colossal disappointment, but it doesn’t take me going on Twitter and Facebook and constantly reminding people of this fact to prove the point. Yes, the team is in last place. Yes, the team is under performing. Yes, guys have not played up to their potential, yada, yada, yada, we all know this. Leave it alone!
And I cant hear it now “free speech” “paying fans have the right” blah blah blah. Trust me I get that, but again, we all know what’s going on, stop beating the proverbial dead horse.
When it comes to fans booing the team at games, I’m not a fan. It’s ok to let them know that you don’t approve of the way they’re playing, but for gods sake, they know this, why continue to beat them down. Brandon Dubinsky came out after game 5 or 6 and said it hurt the guys to hear all the booing, and they legit thought, that the fans didn’t have their backs. Yes, they know they may have played like crap, it doesn’t take us to tell them that, they lost the game. And again, I hear you “i have the right to boo the team, because I paid for that right” guy, I hear you loud and clear, EVERYONE DOES! The best way to show your disapproval would be to not cheer after a goal or a good play, but guess what, we can’t do that can we? We always cheer when something good happens.
I have a unique advantage of seeing the guys in the locker room after the games. After losses those players are dejected. What you see on TV is about 1% of what really happens. Those guys don’t want to talk to anyone, let alone the press. It’s like death in that locker room after the game, the last thing they need is 18,000 fans telling them they’re terrible. Most of the people ragging on them have never played sports in their lives and have no idea how hard it is to perfect all of the time, like fans want them to be. That’s no disrespect to the fans, just truth.
I’ve talked to a few CBJ fans about this subject, some agree with me, some don’t. But when I asked them how they grieve or deal with a bad team, they said they would rather wear paper bags on their heads than boo. I agree with that. I too would rather not show my face than boo. Being a Atlanta Braves fan from the late 80’s early 90’s, trust me I know what it’s like to be very bad, the worst in the league, with no talent, but my fan hood never wavered. And when the team went on a 14 year run of winning the NL East, or going to the World Series, Oh how the bandwagon fans would come out of the woodwork. My advice : disappear back into the woodwork from which you came. I’ve grown up a lot since then. If a CBJ fan wants to only like the team when they’re playing well, that’s ok, but don’t expect the hardcore fans to recognize you. It’s funny too, at the end of every CBJ season, I lose 20-30 followers on Twitter, but come season time, here they come again. Again, I’m not judging.
So how do you grieve? Do you take every opportunity to blast the team on Twitter or Facebook hoping to get someone to react? Do you just ride it out, and try to stay positive?
I constantly see posts about comparing the CBJ to the Browns, how dare you? It’s one thing to have an owner who doesn’t care about the team and just burns through GM’s and coaches. But it’s a completely thing to have an ownership group that fought to keep this team afloat, fought to fix a bad arena deal, fought to get this team here in the first place. Please don’t disrespect Mr Mac. Were mistakes made? Absolutely! Yes the team has had more coaches than we’ve wanted, but never had they fired a coach after 1 season, the GMs have given plenty of opportunity for the coaches to fix things. Scott Howson was a huge mistake who let a potential hall of fame coach go because he let coach killers Rick Nash and Derrick Brassard stick around a little too long and run things. The inmates ran the asylum in those days. But once the owners pulled out of the day to day operations and hired “hockey guys”, the team has a new vibe and identity.
Have things progressed under John Davidson and Jarmo? I say yes. The team has/had a glut of talent coming up through the minors, they are drafting well year to year and making moves to get a few big names to Columbus. Has every move worked or made sense? I don’t know, that’s not for me to figure out. I’m not the hockey professional, they are. Jarmo admitted that bringing Gaborik in was a mistake, he owned it, most GMs wouldn’t have done that.
Trading Ryan Johansen was a massive move. In my opinion, this move they have been wanting to do for a few seasons, but were afraid to make. Todd Richards coddled Johansen from what we’ve heard. But when Tortorella came on board, having watched many games in the studio, I can only imagine he was watching a different scene. He immediately brought Johansens issues to Jarmos attention, those issues bubbled to the top and became very clear to Jarmo and JD. So they pulled the trigger on a deal that brought ultra-talented Seth Jones to Columbus. A player in which they were trying to draft ion the first place, but couldn’t figure out to pull that draft day deal. All of this is my opinion.
So yes, mistakes have been made, and they will make more, it’s human nature. Some of you reading this don’t realize what it was like the first few seasons, seeing the team not even look like they should be on the AHL ice, let alone the NHL ice. Several people have attacked me on that point, saying that I am proving their point of booing them by stating the above, not even close. I agree the expectations were mile high, but that’s our fault, we put those expectations on the team, am I’m guilty of it myself. Bringing in Brandon Saad was the final straw for most fans STANLEY CUP here we come! Slow down! I never quite got there, but I agree that with having a healthy team, and some scoring, the CBJ were gonna battle for the Metro division. And I think the CBJ brass fed into that hype a little bit as well.
So the team is struggling, so what are we going to do about it? What are you going to do about it? Brandon Saad is having a career year, as expected. Boone Jenner is also having a career year, Scott Hartnell and Nick Foligno are not having the years they had last year however. So what do we do? The team, although not mathematically, is out of the playoffs. The season is not over for the players, they still need to play the final stretch of the schedule, so whether or not you support them is up to you. I will be 100%, and I know a lot you won’t which is ok I guess.
So how will you grieve the rest of the season? I’m going to continue to cheer and root them on and grieve in private, and support the team. What about you? Are you going to rip the players, organization etc over a lost season? Will you take to Twitter and Facebook and post negative comments and tag Portzline and the CBJ twitter feed, to try to get a response from them (which you wont by the way). If you’re going to boo, at least show your face, don’t put a bag over your head to conceal your identity. Let it be known who you are. But please, don’t preach about your rights and all of that other stuff nobody listens to anyway. Please climb down off of your high horse and join us peasants, because after all, a lot of you are fans of teams that have no right to talk down to other fans.
Most of you, I know, are diehard fans and will chuckle at this. The ones I’m talking about will immediately comment on this saying some angry stuff towards the team or players, or even me, which is cool. Grieve anyway you want for this lost season, but please, keep the negativity to yourself, because honestly, no one wants to hear it. Those of us positive people know how to read and listen, we know it’s out there, we just don’t feel the need to fire back.
Good luck Jackets!
***Disclaimer*** No Twitter handles were harmed during the making of this post