Thursday, November 18, 2010

It's really hard being an Islanders fan.

A Blog post by Chris Dixon.

You know those relationships we've all had at one point or another, the ones where the person you fall madly in love with at first site but after about 6 months you realize that the person is absolutely bat-shit crazy? Well, let me tell ya.

I started out as a New York Islanders fan waaaaaaay back in 1984. (Cue the Doctor Who music kiddies). They had just won their 4th cup recently, and my earliest memory of the team was being very pleased with myself for having placed the second part of the two part sticker together with the first one in the O-Pee-Chee sticker book for that year. Put yourself in my shoes for a minute with the joy of going through that pack of stickers, after removing the bubble gum. "Thomas Steen-Winnipeg Jets, got it, Gretzky top point getter, got it, PART TWO OF ISLANDERS TEAM PICTURE?!?!?!? SCORE!". The true beginnings of my fandom were something I believe I mentioned in this blog before, with the old NHL rod hockey board. Isles, Bruins, big brother always wanting to be the big bad Bruins because they had cool black jerseys, and me being the Isles, and it sorta stuck from there. EXPECIALLY after getting part 2 of that team sticker.

Fast forward to my teenage years. Me, the Islanders fan, the red necked school I went to filled with Canadiens and Maple Leafs fans. I was an outsider to begin with, let alone getting punched and poked at every time the Islanders lost a game. I vividly remember the "stick it in your face" feeling i got when Dave Volek scored to beat Pittsburgh in 93. A youth's worth of bullying all gone away for that briefest of moments, only to be taken away again a few weeks later by the eventual cup champs, the Montreal Canadiens.

Fast Forward further still to today. The Islanders tease us with a decent start. People in the know knew it wouldn't last, but it was, for the faintest of short moments, fun to be an Islanders fan again. Now look at the team. Shambles. News media saying the GM Garth Snow is in over his head. People BEGGING the owner Charles Wang to sell the team. All the young players are learning how to lose, not to work together and win. They've even essentially banned their biggest fan, Chris Botta, from reporting on the team. This is so bad we're falling into Phoenix Coyotes territory.

What is there that can be done? Who's to know. These are professionals we're talking about. I won't question their professionalism or anything, because I simply only hear what is in the media these days. And I see the losses piling up. (Ahem.. sorry... had to stick that in there). There's no wonder people don't go to the games anymore. The team is trapped in their building, trapped by the youth movement, trapped by the town, and trapped within their own inability to even pull out a simple win. Not even a win streak, just a win.

Please, once again, fellow reader. Put yourself in my shoes. I sit here today, not knowing what to say or do. I get laughably frustrated by other fans clammering to the point of saying they know better and ignorantly saying "this is what they should do". When one distills it down to the most simple of things, what can a fan do to make it all better? What can they say, think, or feel? For me, it's just to be a fan. To still be in the lineup to watch a game, to still watch patiently at the log score refreshing on the internet, begging and praying that this will be that fateful win. I'll still do it after loss 13, 14, and 15. Loyalty is it's own virtue, and I am loyal to the New York Islanders, to a fault.

But boy, is it hard being a fan of the New York Islanders.

All I have to say to the team, from upper management right down to the stick boys, is simple.


Please make it better. You are the only ones who can do it. I've been there for you through thick and thin. I always will be. Now it's your turn. Please make it easier to be a fan of the New York Islanders.


1 comment:

  1. Good read, Chris. I enjoyed it. I'm sure there are many fans of many teams that agree with you. Leaf-fans, for example, are in a very similar boat. They thought that Brian Burke was going to be the savior of the franchise. So much for that idea. Keep believing. That's what it means to be a fan. They've got a lot of young blood. The right coach and the right GM building the proper team around the young guns along with trading a few of those propects for some experience would be good too. Sadly, I don't think Garth Snow has what it takes to get the job done. There is potential there but it will take a while for them to realise any of that potential.