This week past, I wrote an article about how hard it is to be a New York Islanders fan. Thank you to the folks who've taken the time to read and not laugh or poke fun at me for being an Isles fan. (Darrell, you are an acception, joke away!) It's really true as well, the Islanders stink, they've been a stinker for years now, with jaded superstars and unfulfilling rookies and really BAD luck. All of it though, completely, all of it is crap. There are a million excuses to be bad. There is one reason to be good. The team as a whole, from management to players to even stick boys know this.
Thinking of all the pain, angst, and indignity this franchise has endured for many years, I think personally that change is required. We're not talking a change of GM (people are picking on Garth Snow simply because it's easy, not because it's right), or a change of ownership (people are ridiculously calling for Charles Wang's head... dear god talk about biting the hand that feeds) but that's just small thinking really. Seriously though, Garth has managed to bring in some big talent with no reason for them to bother coming. Charles saved the franchise, period. Let's take the bulls eye off of these two.
The change I'm talking about?
Be proud to be a fan. You don't have to be wasting money on going to a game. Wang has already said the team could go to the finals and he'd still lose money. Wear your jersey. Your cap. Scream at Rangers fans. Laugh at Maple Leafs fans. (Yeah, we're still worse than even the damn Leafs, but I don't care). The phrase "change the culture" is often used, to the point of cliché these days, so let's actually make that change in culture ourselves. Garth Snow and Charles Wang are doing their best with a real bad situation. Now it's our turn, as fans, to do our part. We are all Islanders, par of the family and such. Here in Newfoundland, I see Islanders caps, jerseys, and all kinds of stuff with Islanders written on it. People who are fans here ARE FANS. When the Bridgeport Sound Tigers came to town a few years back for a couple of dates with the Maple Leafs farm club (they have since left us) half the crowd was wearing Islanders gear. It was amazing. (I still have my DiPietro signed jersey!!!) We are thousands of miles away, and we are loud and proud. I wish some of us could actually get to a game "at the old barn". It's been a dream of mine since I was old enough to care. Sadly, the money isn't there and likely never will be. :(
I'm calling out to all Islanders twitter-shitters. @7thWoman, @CurtisP11, @IslesRM, @ChrisBottaNHL, @NYIBlogBox,@KatieStrangNYI, @ anyone else. Let's stop telling these people what to do and concentrate more on what we can do. Shout it loud with me. CHANGE. We can't expect the Islanders to do it themselves. We've waited 17 years, they obviously can't. Let's do our part.
None of us knows what the Islanders should be doing for change. If we really did know what to do, we'd be the ones running the team, not them. We do know what we can do. Say:
I AM AN ISLANDER.
I ALWAYS WILL BE.
Scream it loud. Be proud. Whether they win or lose, just be a fan. Show passion. Scream for that one goal a game and maybe, the team might be motivated enough by that to score a second, and a third. Maybe a player on another team won't groan when he has to play for them via trade. Maybe an existing player won't leave because it's better for his career. Let this team know you haven't abandoned them. It's hard, but you can do it. You can even do it without spending money, as you all have jerseys, hats, flags, etc. Turn Long Island orange and blue. Make the Island the team. No excuses.
On twitter the other day, I suggested a boycott of tonight's game against the Panthers in support of Chris Botta. I do think that the team made a mistake in doing what they did, and should pay for that. Perhaps this is not the way though, as rumblings suggest the team is paying dividends for this across the nation anyway from all the bad PR. A good way to get Chris back in the building is to buy his ticket for him and get him there. Simple. He may not get the interviews, but he can comment on the play of the team itself. I'd buy the guy a ticket.