Since the end of the regular season and the start of the playoffs, I have been thinking about how people approach the Stanley Cup Showdown if their team isn’t participating. I know several people that will only cheer for the Canadian teams or who specifically cheer against certain squads, while others will simply hop on a bandwagon for the duration of the playoffs.
Addressing the issue of cheering for a team based on its location, I feel that this is an attempt at misguided patriotism. I linked an article about this from Max Hockey the other day, and really can’t improve on what that piece said, which essentially was that anyone who cheers for a team just because they are Canadian etc. is really doing themselves a disservice. Every team has Canadian players on it, so why not cheer for them instead? Of the teams that made the dance, only Calgary was “led” by a Canadian (I don’t count Luongo, goalie captains, pfffft). In fact, all three Canadian teams have Europeans or Americans playing significant roles, much like basically every other team in the league. So, in reality, by hoping the Cup goes to a Canadian team, you really can’t get what you wish for as the Cup will spend a significant portion of the summer abroad anyways.
As you may have guessed, I am also against bangwagon jumping. I know its tough to be on the outside looking in, having been an Oiler fan since I was 5. The 80’s were good, but since I have been a teenager I always thought May and June were all about getting excited for the draft and watching the World Championships. Having been through so many lean years, you would think I would be eager to join a team for the run, a free-agent rental fan as it were. Well brother, you would be wrong. It seems the lack of playoff success has made my loyalty stronger. When the playoffs roll around and the Oilers head off to the worlds, I basically become a dispassionate watcher of the games, a UN observer if you will (minus the corruption, raping, pillaging, and anti-Semitism) who will sit down and follow a series or two without really caring about the outcome.
My opinion is that if you think hard enough, you should be able to find something to hate about every other team in the league. Canucks? Total douchebags led by two gingers. Flames? Dont get me started, I would rather cheer for the Taliban All-Stars. Red Wings? Hockeytown my ass. Ducks? Get Chris Pronger to close that gap in his teeth. You get the drill. I think that the fealty to your team should burn deep inside you and sustain you over the lean summer months. Cheering for anyone else is basically akin to heresy. Even cheering against a team means that by default you are hoping for someone else to win. It just doesn’t feel right to me.
So, I put this question to you dear fans: Who Would You Cheer For? Can you bring yourself to root, root, root for the home team? Do you watch The Best of DVD’s in the summer? Follow baseball? Break your ankles jumping on and off bandwagons? Lets hear about it.