OK boys and girls. Bring in the patio furniture and stay clear of your glass windows: it's ranting time!
I'm fully aware that not everyone likes hockey. And that's OK by me. Personally, I'd rather gouge my eyes out than sit through a tennis match. My loathing of tennis is such that I've deliberately refused to understand how the scoring works; every time someone's attempted to explain it to me, I tell them I honestly don't want to know. Tennis can suck it. And if you want to tell me that you'd rather watch back-to-back episodes of "My Name Is Earl" than sit through a period of hockey, that's cool.
But one thing I simply cannot take that I've been getting absolutely inundated with lately is the EXCUSE for not being a Bruins fan. People who tell me they don't like hockey are one thing, but when I meet a supposed Boston sports fan who's ready to fill my ear with "justifications" for having jettisoned the Bruins from their loyalties? I call bullshit. BULLSHIT, my dears.
As a frame of reference, imagine that you just met someone from Boston who claims to be a big sports fan, but doesn't like the Red Sox. Doesn't make any fucking sense, does it? That's how I feel about these everything-but-the-Bruins fans.
Here's a sampling of some of the excuses I've been getting lately (to be read aloud in the whiniest voice possible -- and no, I did not make these up):
- The season is too long!
- I haven't been able to watch since the strike!
- I haven't been able to watch since the Joe Thornton trade!
- There are too many goalies!
- The front office doesn't know what they're doing!
- I don't know any of the players!
- I'd rather watch the Celtics!
and the absolute, bottom-of-the-barrel worst:
- They're just going to lose anyway!
Some of those excuses are just patently stupid. Don't know the players? Well for pete's sake. Stop reading Fleshbot and click your way on over to the Bruins website, which, SURPRISINGLY, has information on the players! Got issues with the strike? Well, buddy, the NHLPA isn't the first group to call a players strike -- and all the guys you see playing today are playing under the salary cap without complaining. So why the hell should you care?
My real issues, however, lie with the excuses that seem to imply that a franchise that is not flourishing does not deserve fans. They only serve to validate the #1 criticism of Boston fans: that we are bandwagoneers who distribute our loyalties according to the most recent championship or blockbuster trade. NO NO. PLEASE NO. I suffered through too many flop Red Sox seasons, too many games with Parcells on the sidelines, and too many disheartening press conferences with Chauncey Billups. The fact that every other Boston-area team is super nasty good right now is all the MORE reason that the Bruins should get fan support. Being a fan should involve investment: a commitment to hope, perhaps even to the point of suspending your disbelief, that your team will do well. You're not investing anything by giving your support to a defending World Series champion, a 3-time Superbowl winner, or a best-in-the-league juggernaut. The team to invest in is the Bruins, and the time to do it is now.
Yes, I'm going to say it: If you are a Boston sports fan, YOU SHOULD WATCH THE BRUINS. That's it. Plain and simple. If not, you're not a Boston fan, and that's the goddamn truth.