I do this from time to time. Often, honestly. I work in a sports bar - a Buffalo Wild Wings to be specific - and live in Indiana. So needless to say every Sunday the establishment is full to the brim with football fans. Colts fans, Steelers fans, Bears fans. All hooting and hollering and berating one another.
My facebook page is filled with sports comments of all kinds every day. A friend of mine who is a Yankees fan comes to mind. She is a legit fan - not the band wagon sort. She's got the NY tattooed on her hip and splurged her college refund money on a seat from Yankee stadium a few years back when it was torn down, much to her fathers chagrin. Needless to say when the Yanks failed to make the World Series last week her wall was packed to the brim with friends (?) rubbing her nose in the loss.
I can't even imagine what her cellphone text inbox looked like. Sheesh.
Another friend of mine - a Steelers fan - went back and forth with a Dolphins fan in the same fashion for the entirety of what turned out to be a hell of a game yesterday. I was exhausted just reading the exchange.
Now lets switch gears a bit. When my favorite hockey team was knocked out of the playoffs last year I heard nothing about. No one stopped me on the side walk to marvel in my displeasure and suffering. No one mocked me on a social network site, or even so much as dropped me a quick text after seeing the score of the game on Sportscenter.
Two different worlds to say the least.
Since I was a teenager I'd always wondered - borderline fantasized - about what it would be like to live in a hockey crazed community. Like Minnesota or anywhere in Canada. Where you could walk into a sports bar and find a building full of people (gasp) watching, enjoying, and talking about hockey. It sounds like heaven to a guy who grew up - for lack of better term - in Indiana. Not exactly a hockey hot bed.
But then I started thinking about this last night while closing down at work. How awful could it be as well?
Lets be honest, some sports fans are just ignorant. I have the luxury of not having to hear any of that ignorance for the most part. If someone at the bar thinks he wants to get lippy with me about my squad, I can pretty much guarantee I know more about the sport than he does and can drop knowledge on him to get him to shut up and leave me alone and return to his 3 dollar draft light beer.
I promise you that isn't the case for my football, baseball, and basketball counterparts.
So what's better? Being a one-out-of-a-million hockey fan, surrounded by those who argue about the sport like it were politics (just check out the comments on just about any story posted on thehockeynews.com). Or being the guy in a community that is associated with the game?
Not to toot my own horn here, but anywhere I go I leave hockey fans in my wake. Kind of like a hockey Moses or something. Usually life-long fans too. And I'm very proud of this. They see the passion in the game and listen to me yell at the TV and talk about the sport in a way that is foreign to most fans of any other game. And they want to know why. They catch the bug, pick a team, and keep up with the sport long after I have moved on.
It's an awesome effect to have on a group of people.
The grass is always greener, I 'spose the saying goes. But maybe in this case I should be thankful for what I have around me, eh?
A quick sidenote: ESPN released this weeks power rankings today (http://espn.go.com/nhl/powerrankings) and I found it interesting that the top two teams are in the Central, and every team from the division except for the Blue Jackets were in the top ten.
I remember when the Central was widely considered the worst division in hockey. That clearly isn't the case now, and hasn't been for a long while. Hell, the Jackets are finally finding their game after a slow start and could muscle their way up there as well.
I'd like to know how the Capitals would do if they had to play Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis and Nashville three hundred times a year instead of Atlanta, Carolina, and Florida. Of course the Bolts seem to be poised to give the Caps a run for the Southeast crown, but it's a bit early for that kind of talk.
I'm off for some lunch. Have a good afternoon all ye' faithful.