After reading a this article on the Washington Post website I felt like I was being lumped into a category I didn’t want to be lumped in. I felt like all “die hard lean years” fans were being called resentful bandwagon haters.
When I moved to the DC area, it doesn’t seem that long ago but I guess it’s eight years now, I wasn’t terribly interested in the Caps since I was I confess a bit of a Jackets fan at the time. But, I began to go to Caps game, as a hockey fan deprived and raving after the lock out, during those lean years when the players wore black and gold, when Hanlon was coach and Ovechkin was just starting his rookie season and fell in love with the floundering team. When I became a fan I never expected them to be very good though I hoped they would be; I saw the potential but I wasn’t sure how it would pan out.
Everyone has to become a fan at one point. Just because I (and others) happened to become a fan during those losing years; learning the players names and positions slowly but surely does that make me more of a fan than those who are learning now? Or only a few years ago? No, absolutely not.
I love the new fans. I encourage it. I want my boys to have that support of a full house every night. To see people in their gear around town. Maybe the concourses are a little crowded or tickets a little harder to find but isn’t that a small price to pay for a growing community? What is better a community or a small “holy crap there’s another Caps fan in my town?!” like atmosphere?
I actively try to convert people to hockey, see fellow Chronicles blogger, and now indistinguishably die hard fan Anna, and sure it can be a little trying when they mess up a term or don’t know a name but be patient they’re trying. And, if they’re not trying their going to lose interest pretty quick and you won’t have to deal with them anyways.
I can understand that feeling of almost resentment at “bandwagon” or new fans. The sudden influx of people claiming to be fans after winning a playoff spot and unexpectedly clinching the top spot in the Southeast, I was at the Panthers game that was do or die for clinching that spot, after firing Hanlon and hiring Bruce in 07-08 was a little startling. But, it’s the 09-10 season now and the new fans have been around for a while, time to get used to it.
There’s a difference between “bandwagoners” and new fans. New fans are going to be considered “die hards” in a couple years and are going to be the next generation of fans, I’m one of those “new generation” fans even if I did become a fan back in the “lean years” and was into hockey before the lock out and Mr. Ovechkin and Mr. Crosby.
Bandwagoners will lose interest by the first week of July and not be back in October. (Though new bandwagoners will be but what are you going to do?) And, anyways I know plenty of long time fans and self labeled “die hards” who have NO clue what they are talking about anymore than a bandwagoner.
I love the new fans; welcome to the bandwagon. Don’t scare them away or try to, fellow die hards. Don’t be selfish with your team. Basically, pardon my language (children cover your eyes!), don’t be a hockey-snob ass.