If you haven’t heard, which I hope you have, the Blackhawks are going to the Stanley Cup Finals! With an exciting Game 7 win over the Anaheim Ducks, the Blackhawks will be going after Lord Stanley for the third time in the last six years! The Blackhawks are set to face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first two games of the series starting tonight. How exciting! Yet, even during one of the most exciting times for sports fans we are being flooded with news about how the Tampa Bay lightning organization is denying non-florida residents to buy tickets to their home games as well as banning Blackhawks gear and colors. Everyone should be up in arms over this. It should be talked about even more so than it is. Not just for the fact as a fellow Blackhawk fan we are essentially being denied entry and our right to cheer on our team, because of what it means for the future of hockey and sports.
Here is the biggest issue, why are we babying arenas, fans, owners and players from actually upholding a sporting event? This topic is not new in the world of parenting, among other sectors of life, when talking about every child getting a trophy, having a graduation ceremony for every grade, teachers not even using red ink when correcting etc. I am one hundred percent all for promoting confidence in children. However, it is hard to deny it seems “we” as a culture are providing an environment for children in which everything is perfect, albeit the same, and all the while diminishing individuality. Thereby, we are not preparing them for an imperfect world which requires hard work and overcoming obstacles. (I promise this is getting back to Hockey.) Since this is a topic brought up by many parents all the time, I have to ask why are we starting this habit in the competitive world of sports?
Why, oh why, are we allowing people to take away the true environment of hockey? Games are about competition, fun and sportsmanship. Now, owners (or whomever is making all these decisions) are coming in and denying people the right to experience sports in it’s true fashion. Instead of promoting healthy competition between two great teams in what will be one of the greatest accomplishments of their lives, they are “dumbing it down”. These players are not babies. These hockey players are trained, skilled and experienced athletes. ATHLETES. Individuals in a profession in which most players I’d guess make 85% more than the “average” person in the U.S. I think they can handle opposing cheering fans. I highly doubt these hockey players can not handle themselves in an arena housing multiple different fans. I mean really, can you imagine fifty years from now, “mmmm we’re no longer going to allow teams playing in the Stanley Cup Finals to wear specific team oriented colored sweaters. We’re going to make everyone look the same. Also, no team is going to actually win the Stanley Cup. The game will merely be played and the Cup shared by all.” Yah, that’s special.
I can only use my experience as a dancer at U of I and for the Bulls to relate. When opposing fans were at Memorial Stadium and the United Center, I thought this is great! BRING IT ON! Playoff games were the best the fans brought everything to life! It created a greater drive and higher will inside of me. I have to imagine it is the same for professional athletes. So why are you taking that away from them? It is ultimately robbing the home team a chance to experience a true championship game between great players. Players who have worked their butts off to get to this level of championship. Note to the people in charge you are babying them. Further, you are setting your team up for a very rude awakening when they come to Chicago just F.Y.I.
All of this denying fans the “right” to support their team is a massive disappointment for the NHL. For a league that is still progressively growing it’s fan base this allowed behavior seems awfully counterproductive. I don’t understand why the NHL hasn’t stepped in to address some of these issues. Instead of promoting fans to have a great time together at a game, regardless of which team one is rooting for, it’s being set up for unnecessary animosity. Not sportsmanlike competition. Personally, I think it’s pathetic and disappointing.
Needless to say, I think the Blackhawks fans will figure it out regardless.
Have a fun and fit day, Chicago!