Introducing: Dave Thomas
My name is Dave Thomas, I am not a re incarnation of a certain founder of a fast food chain, nor to the best of my knowledge am I in any way related, unless my parents are saving that revelation for the Jerry Springer show. The similarities stop at the name, as. I am younger, slimmer and still alive.
I am from London, England, Yes London, England, where that small and seldom heard of sporting event going on at the moment, the one whose opening ceremony confused everyone not from this isle, (although that may not have been helped by NBC). Something that this opening blog might do as well, without the help from NBC.
So how did someone from London, England become a Blue Jackets fan ?, Back in November 2008 I was visiting Columbus, having studied at the Ohio State University, and said I wanted to see a hockey game. It was a fantastic time, even if the exact rules of the game were a little unclear. Taking the lead from the gentlemen sitting in front of me and wanting to get into the spirit of the occasion, I yelled out exactly what he had been yelling, as the people in the surrounding seats turned around in surprise to see and hear a heavily English accented voice yell “punch him in the head”, sadly it was not until the 3rd period the players acted on this sage advise.
Since then, I have followed this team, my team from a different continent, a different time zone, through the highs and lows, thanks to the wonders of internet streaming and various gigabytes of data, much to the delight of my ISP, whose data limits now lie shattered and and their gigabyte data charging policy ensures that, their profits now rival the GDP of some of the most advanced economies. Yet that along with the very late nights, has been worth it, that along with the joy at hard fought wins, with the anger at games lost in the last minute/second, has been both the price and privilege of being a Columbus Blue Jackets fan. Our struggles shall define us. It will become part of a heritage, that in the darkest hour we joined the battle and stayed a part of that battle. We have set ourselves aside from mere band wagon fans, flitting from team to team as a honey bee going from flower to flower on a warm summers day.
When I started this post I was not sure where I was going with it, the Nash trade is done, then I came across some comments made by the former Blue jacket, Marc Methot, click here to read.
Marc said that sometimes it was hard to play in Nationwide, that sometimes the opposing fans out numbered the home fans and that made it tough. Make no mistake, he has no issues with the fans, just the lack of them, and yes, some of that comes down to the team performance over the years, but turn the question around, what impact do we have as fans ? we can alter games, our presence can spur the players on, to dig that little deeper, to work the little hard when the body aches and the limbs are tired.
A little over a year ago, after our loss at the end of the season to Buffalo, a lot of people were saying that the atmosphere was quiet, that opposing fans out numbered the Jackets fans. That night, their and then, even through distance prevented me from doing any concrete, I started “Reclaim our Barn”, (because that is how we change the world through Facebook groups right ?)
The sole purpose of the group was to get Blue Jackets fans back in Nationwide, to act as a rallying cry for us to quite literately, reclaim our barn from the hordes of opposing fans. Unbeknownst to me and a little before, another group of wise men, had the same idea. Reclaim our Barn never really got off the ground, but the other group, the Arch City Army did. Their deserved success shows, what a difference we as fans make. The cheering, the noise, the passion is the boast our players need. The unspoken part of Marc’s comments, are that we need more people to come along and make noise. All the players are aware of the Arch City Army, and pretty much they all love them. The point of this is not an advertisement for the ACA, (although I do highly recommend joining them, and watching a game/s in their section) The point is that we can, as individuals do exactly what they are doing, we can make noise, we can cheer our players onto victory and we can do it from whatever seat we have in the arena. We don’t need to be a part of a certain group, we are all already Blue Jackets fans, all we need to do is bring our passion to the arena. I know and understand our record is not good, I understand the frustrations of wanting to see a winning team and lots of money spent, especially in these austere times. Go back to your first Jackets game, do you remember it ? , think about your favorite Jacket’s memory, the one that will stay with you to your deathbed, the one the makes you smile when you are having a bad day, tap into that passion and use it when you come to the games. I know not everyone can go to every game, but the games you do attend, bring you voice, make noise, make sure that the teams we are playing, know they are stepping into an away area. Reclaim our Barn has stalled a little, but I shall continue with it, I carry on joining the battle, and I hope that you will join me, if I could finish with a shameless self plug, stop by Facebook and check out Reclaim our Barn, check out the ACA also, I hope you will join the battle this season and who knows maybe I may even see some of you at nationwide this season.
Thank you for reading this