Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Bandwagoner? Realist? Delusional? What fan are you?

This could be a blog that applies to many different NHL teams – maybe other sports as well. But it is most definitely a topic that hits hard in the city of Vancouver because the true fans of the Canucks are very big on labelling and critising Bandwagon fans. My problem is that I don't think the majority of them actually understand what a bandwagoner is.

Bandwagoners sprout up during the spring when Canucks, more often than not, screech into the playoffs in some sort of dramatic fashion. They either slide in ass backwards by the skin of their teeth or they conquer everything in their path. Either way all of a sudden every car in Vancouver has a Canucks flag waving from its window. Every pedestrian is wearing a team jerseys and every dog is in a Canucks shirt (or is that just my dog?!)

I love the Canucks. I watch every game I am able to. Last year I spent roughly $1700 on tickets to games. I bought pay per view games. I tweet games (concretefluff), all Canucks news and write this blog. But when we re-signed the Twins my tweet was: “Canucks re-signed the Sedin twins. I hope they also bought stock in Red Bull to keep them awake during the playoffs.”

Some “fans” labeled me a bandwagoner.

When I tweeted recently that I was skipping the Phoenix-Vancouver game because I was going to a movie and would rather be disappointed by Bruce Willis than Roberto Luongo, I was again labeled a bandwagoner.

Guess what, that’s not Bandwagonning, that’s called REALISM.

I grew up in Montreal. Raised a Habs fan. Bandwagoners do not exist there. In Montreal there are only 2 types of fans - Canadiens fans and Habs fans. End of story.

A lot of bloggers and tweeters were really ticked off when Montreal Fans at the Bell center booed Carey Price the first couple of games this season. But that's what realistic fans do! If Habs fans are pissed at the team, or one or all of its members, they let the world know. But they never ever jump ship. (Even when we say we will, like I did when they traded Halak. I didn’t. But I did boo Price and I’ll do it again when he completely melts down in the spring).

Bandwagoners don’t even get on the ship until they can see the destination from the portside window. You never hear a hockey word come out of their mouths until the snow melts and the Cherry blossoms bloom. They try to participate in playoff conversations by saying stuff like “Number fourteen scored a sweet hat trick last night.” Number 14?! FYI his name is BURROWS, he was born in Pincourt, Quebec and spends the off-season in Kirkland and his wife's name is Nancy - got it, Bandwagoner?

Just because a fan can fully and freely admit that the Sedins fall asleep in the playoffs, Kesler is the Queen of near missed shots and Bieksa spends a great deal of the season coasting on his good looks and sparkling personality does NOT make them a bandwagoner. A bandwagoner wouldn’t know any of that.

I soldier through the season – the whole season – with the team. Celebrating their wins and commiserating their loses. But I’m a realist. As much as I want, pray, wish and dream of the Vancouver Canucks winning the Stanley Cup, I can also understand that it’s probably not going to happen with Alain Vigneault at the helm.

The fans who plan the parade route after 2 consecutive wins in October, who swear every August that “This is our year” and are shocked, truly shocked and devastated, every April when we inevitably shit the bed, those may be true fans as well but they are also delusional fans. Not Shockingly they're the first ones to point their foam fingers and label people who don't drink their team coloured Kool-Aid "bandwagoners".

In the end, I honestly don’t care what you call me. I am what I am. I’ll be there when the Vancouver Canucks finally win the Stanley Cup and I’ll be there every single time they fail miserably too.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Sticks & Stones & Sidney Crosby

This post is about Sidney Crosby. I’m not a Penguins fan. I’m just a fan of good hockey and good looking men. Sidney Crosby happens to deliver both. He’s also Canadian. Therefore, I am a Sidney Crosby fan.

I have come to realize that, as a woman, I am not alone. But as a hockey fan, I’m one of the few that really truly loves Sid. This perplexes me.

Sidney is hands-down the best hockey player in the National Hockey League today. I know there are those that want to argue that it’s a toss up between Ovechkin and Crosby. That’s like arguing a glass of water and a picture of a glass of water are the same thing. Sure they look the same but if you’re stuck in a desert, only one of those things is gonna be useful. Ovechkin has managed to turtle/choke/tank in mostly every major moment in his career. Last year alone, he tanked in the Olympics, he turtled in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and he choked in the battle for the Art Ross and the Rocket Richard. Just couldn’t make the goals happen when they needed to. On top of that – and this is a personal opinion thing, I know - but Ovehckin has been suspend twice for cheap shots. I will always, always argue that a dirty player isn’t a great player.

Now let’s forget the dirty Russian and get back to Sidney Crosby.

Mmm…. Sidney Crosby……. Ahmen.

Yes, well Sidney’s record looks like this (in cliffnotes) Crosby broke Mario LeMieux rookie assist record by scoring 63 (over Mario’s 57) in his first year in the NHL. He represented Team Canada in 2006 and was the youngest player ever to win a World Championship scoring title. In Crosby’s second NHL season he became the first teenager – since Wayne Gretzky – to lead the league in scoring. He won the Art Ross in 2007. In his sophomore season, despite an ankle injury that limited him to 53 games he scored 72 points. He led his team to the Stanely Cup Final that season. The next season (2008-2009) at the age of 21 years old, Sidney Crosby won his first Stanley Cup. In 2010 he scored 51 goals and won the Rocket Richard Trophy (tied with Stamkos). Sidney also scored the gold medal game-winning goal in the 2010 Olympic Men’s Hockey final.

Did I mention he’s only 23 years old?

So why do people hate him? Mostly it’s because he has been known to whine. People call him Crosbaby because he acted like a baby when he started in the NHL. When he started in the NHL he WAS a baby. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Penguins about a week short of his 18th birthday.

He did take dives and complain to Refs in his first season – I can’t deny that. He earned the title of being the first rookie to score 100 points and 100 penalty minutes in the same season. But my question to those who bitched and moaned about his bitching and moaning is this – what part of HE WAS ONLY 18 – are you not getting?!

Have you met the average 18 year old male? They are hot messes. On average they have zero responsible tendancies but major entitlement issues. So Sidney Crosby was acting more or less like a typical teenager, he was just doing it with the world watching.

On top of which, now I know I was super young when The Great One played his prime years but he was JUST as big a whiner as Crosby. Is that what most people remember about him? Nope. Nor should they. He earned his spot in hockey history whether people called him Whine Greatly or Wayne Gretzky.

What sparked this blog right now was 2 things. 1) Sidney's fight a few weeks ago in which he kicked ass. (something Wayne gretzky would never do). And also 2) European Soccer.

I started watching European Soccer when I was in Spain for the World Cup. I have kept watching because my fiance is an Arsenal fan and I'm a Real Madrid fan (well, I'm a David Villa fan... so whatever). But here is the thing about European Soccer - it's the most popular sport in the world, it's got (arguably) the most passionate fans (they kill each other) and it's also got the whiniest athletes I have ever seen.

A call is never made by a ref that doesn't go by without a player bitching and moaning. I mentioned this to my fiance and he said "Oh yeah and the best players are usually the biggest whiners."

So why is it okay in one sport and not the other? His response was "Hockey players are supposed to be tough."

Sidney Crosby is tough, he's proven that - the fight a few weeks ago is an example. Unlike Wayne he doesn't need any teammates to do double duty as bodyguards. Crosby isn’t a baby. If you still insist on calling him one, you're the true whiney bitch.
Frankly if Sid the Kid whines or expects to be treated with extra care, he should. He’s better than you.