Love is never having to say...........................

Long ago and far away in a galaxy called Brooklyn there was a baseball team called the Dodgers. Their fans affectionately called them the “bums” and although they fairly consistently lost to their cross town rivals the Yankees as well as others, they were loved. As in “Love dem bums”

If you walk into a small bar in downtown Chicago on a hot afternoon in July, chances are, the patrons as well as the the barkeeper will be clustered around a TV watching a baseball game with a vine covered brick wall in the outfield. reluctantly the bar keep will come down and ask if he can help you, but his mind is obviously on the game. If you ask whats the score, his first words are “well the Cubbies are hanging in there, but we’ll have to wait till next year”.  Then Love those Cubbies but they just gotta get some……………..

So it is with teams that the fans hate, but love to death. These teams have had years of frustration but have developed a fan base that just will not give up on them.  But times have changed, we now live in the era of instant gratification . Fans want to be gratified by a winning team. The Jackets do not have the luxury of years and years spent in developing a fan base, their entire life consists of 11 years. There was some forgiveness in the start up of a new franchise, sort of a honeymoon. Then expectations started. And why not, the Buckeyes won didn’t they, so why not the Blue Jackets. There was a dim light seen at the end of the tunnel when they made the playoffs, only to see it extinguished the next year and the next……..

Then came last summer. Scott Howson got out his shopping list and obtained everything just about any fan could have thought the Jackets needed to be successful. Local fans smirked at the national forecasts that estimated the Jackets would “maybe” just make the playoffs. Why not, we had what we needed, we can not only make the playoffs, but we should go a round or 2 in them and then the following year……August came and went,  September finally arrived and hockey started, slowly at first with youngsters and then hockey season started to ramp up. The line up that looked so good on paper started to play. Suddenly it appeared that that line up that looked so good on paper was not that good on the ice. Veterans were not successful, developing youngsters, didn’t and weren’t.  The high expectations started to dip then slide and drop. Instead of dips in the road, the club was falling off cliffs.

And here we are now, 9 wins and 20 losses [and 4 OT] the high expectations are gone and many fans are jumping ship and going on to other things. If you are reading a hockey blog, you probably have not, as you still have an interest, but the casual fan is gone for this year. The performance this year hurts, it particularly hurts the die hard fan  who live and breath Blue Jacket hockey. I’m sure it hurts players coaches and casual fans also. I personally know of many people who are still going to games, particularly with freebe passes for a good time out. And I think that’s great. This years flop comes when a deal is being set to help keep the Jackets/arena solvent. So local interest for the year is waning.

[Note The recent Dispatch article with the expert's opinion that the Arena District does not need the Jackets was obviously not written by the man on the street watching people come to see the Jackets, or even more so, watching how many Black Hawk fans come to town when the Jackets play Chicago. ]

But fellow hockey fans, as much as we are disappointed this year, we have seen some damn good hockey. As we all know we are not seeing enough to win games as 45-50 minutes is not enough to win a 60 minute game, but we have seen some great hockey. I’m sorry we don’t have a fan base of many years where father has tutored son in the lore of the Blue Jacket. I wish that were so, the fall might not be so far.

All I can say is that Great expectations have yielded huge frustrations. Hang in there, the Jackets will get better {sometime} meanwhile, LOVE WHAT YOU GOT, only 30 cities have a NHL team and Columbus is one of them!


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