I was working all weekend as my office put on a youth rally for close to 2,000 grade 7 students and their adult leaders. Thus, I got off to a very slow start in the “Replace the KB” blogging competition but I’m going with the theory that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Well…at least that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
I proudly wore my Roberto Luongo jersey as part of my outfit for the weekend. Those who know me know what I’m a big Luongo fan, so it was gratifying to read the tweets saying that he played a decent game especially in the third period in shutting down the powerhouse Washington Capitals.
(As an aside, Gary Bettman and the NHL schedule-makers need to stop scheduling marquee Canucks games on the same weekend as our youth rally: in the last 5 years I’ve missed the Penguins, the Red Wings, the Maple Leafs, and now the Capitals).
During the breaks in the day I would mingle with the participants and almost every conversation understandably wound up on the topic of Roberto Luongo (once they finished asking me if they could touch my afro). There was quite the consensus among the young people: that Luongo would be fine and the Canucks as a whole would shake off their collective slow start.
And that was it. End of story.
I marvelled at the simplicity of their answers and in the hope and optimism that they held for the home team. None of them talked stats, line combinations, or defensive pairings. No one rattled off plus-minus figures. And there wasn’t a single mention of a goaltending controversy.
With today’s digital society everyone has the ability to write a blog, update their status on Facebook, or Tweet their opinion. We fret about goals against average, powerplay percentages, and the number of blocked shots. Anyone can purport to be an expert and things can get quite complicated. If you show too much leniency towards the Canucks you’re labelled a homer and not objective. Try to point out the Canucks’ deficiencies and you’re dismissed as not being a true fan. It’s a tricky balance to be sure.
I’ve been a fan of the Vancouver Canucks since childhood. I have fond memories of listening to Canucks games on CKNW 98 in the 1980s. Dad, my brother Jason, and I would lie on Dad’s bed and soak in the descriptive commentary of Jim Robson and Tom Larscheid. Jason and I would often fall asleep before the end of the game, but it didn’t matter: that time together was very special.
No matter how poorly the team was doing, we would have faith in them; a simple, beautiful, child-like faith that the good guys would win the next game.
Obviously, things can’t be that simple. There’s a need and a hunger for analysis, commentary and editorial. Case in point: this “Replace the KB” contest!
But let us never forget what it means to be a fan. And let’s not be ashamed of it or apologize for it either.