I think I just invented my own word, unfanly, because that is exactly how I feel when it comes to professional hockey this year. I don’t feel like I have a single positive drop of fanliness anywhere in my entire body, just a mild pain in my ass, and bad taste in my mouth. I may be Canadian, and it may be our official sport, but growing up, and even in to my late twenties, maybe even early thirties, I despised watching hockey on television. I groaned when my Dad watched it, I complained when my husband watched it, and I cringed when my kids became super fans. I do enjoy watching a game, personally, at an arena, with all that goes with that, and when my son played, I was his biggest fan, and never missed a game if I could help it. I was actually on the board for Minor Hockey when I lived back in New Brunswick, and one thing I always hated was politics. I just opened the can of worms I am going work with, right there!
When I moved to Alberta, with two sons who are Leaf fans, a husband and father who are both Habs fan, and living, at that time, three hours from the arena where the Oilers play, I decided I was going to finally stop trying to beat them all, and just join them on the hockey bandwagon. I wasn’t going to make it easy for them, and join one of their teams, so I adopted the Oilers, and jumped in full force! I have four official jerseys, including the fancy girlie pink one. I have all sorts of merchandise. I cheered until I lost my voice at games. I saw them raise Messier’s jersey to the rafters. I even cried like someone died, the day they traded Ryan Smyth, and sobbed uncontrollably during the press conference when he left the city. I truly became a fan, and was so excited when we got tickets to 4 games this season, instead of our usual 2 or 3. I was gladly willing to fork out 369.00 x 3, for three seats at four games. They even make it easier, and let you pay it over a couple of months, and I was happy to do it, because Go Oilers! Let’s fast-forward just a wee bit, shall we.
Players’ lockout. When they first hinted at one, back in the fall, I was upset, and worried we would miss out. When it became official, that the season wouldn’t start on time, I was hopeful it would before our first scheduled game. When it started to look highly unlikely we would make our first game, I made other plans for Halloween, and hoped they WOULD cancel a few. And, I started to get this weird feeling in the pit of my stomach. I was actually hoping NOT to see a game. It felt like a betrayal of my team. As the whole thing began to unfold, and unwind and shut down, that betrayal remains, however, I am the one now feeling betrayed.
The longer this went on, the more bitter I became. We watched countless news reports of greedy people fighting over BILLIONS of dollars, not MILLIONS, but BILLIONS. I am not from upper-classed means. I will never see a million dollars in my lifetime. I live very well, don’t get my wrong, and I want for nothing, but the more time passed with no resolution to this thing, the angrier I became. I think of how ridiculously overpriced the tickets, concessions, parking, merchandise, etc., is, and how EAGER I was to fork it all out, every season, and I cringe now. I work hard for the money I was gladly putting out every year, and here these boys, for lack of a better term, were fighting over how big their cut would be, out of MY pocket. Did they ever consider the fans? I know apologies have been made, since the lockout ended, and hockey is about ready to go for a shortened season, but I think it is going to take more than an I’m sorry, for a lot of fans to get back that loving feeling. Polls all over the internet have been asking the question, and I have thrown my two cents out there on a few of them, but my short answer is, I don’t care a shred, if I watch a single game, and I have no support left. Every time an email came, updating us, as ticket holders, on what was happening, they thanked us for our patience. I have NO patience or tolerance for all the crap, and I am not sure I am ever going to get it back. I literally roll my eyes and read the emails, to myself or out loud, in a whiny kind of annoying voice, because I am just done.
The latest email shows us our choices for game packages we have to choose from, on Tuesday. With a shortened season, we will see no east coast teams, which means, again, that we, as fans lose out. They are “trying” to set things right, but it is truly a case, of too little too late. I have no desire to really see any of the games, and if they give us back our 1226 dollars, it will make my decision on my new massage chair, a done deal! Win one for this “unfan” and see what happens next season. I am not saying I will never come back, I am saying that the wound is far too fresh to pour 10 dollar beer and 7 dollar popcorn on top, this go around. I think the NHL has no idea how much damage they may have done to OUR game, by making it so desperately about money. I remember, fondly, sitting in freezing cold arenas, with tractors rigged to clean the ice, in small town venues, where hockey was all these kids lived for. The love of the game, and the cheers of their family and friends. I think a lot of really rich, really influential people, need to be reminded where they came from, and who it is who REALLY pays their horrendously disgusting salaries.
With that, I will jump down off my soapbox. These are, of course, entirely my opinions, to which I am entitled. You are most assuredly entitled to yours, and I encourage feedback. Don’t argue with me, this is MY website, but different points of view are interesting, maybe wrong, but definitely interesting. I say that rather tongue in cheek, certainly, but if nothing else, I say what I am thinking, and what others might be thinking, but not articulating. Last season I may have ended this with a rousing Go Oilers! Not this year, I am afraid. Who knows….