Let me just start by saying that I went to the victory parade last week. That one sentence tells you that I am a fan and that I think highly of our players. Now, standing in the sardine can of fans I overheard others talking. Some where saying that there were a lot of fans present that were not True Fans. This was based on the notion that a True Fan was one who followed the team’s exploits before they became champions. There I must put my proverbial foot down as I disagree with the statement.

I myself am a recent convert to the sport. It is true that by the time I joined they had already won a cup in recent years. That alone would put me on the list of non-true fans. Here I raise my hand and put up a disclaimer and prove myself to be a True Fan. How? By claiming ignorance. I did not know that they’d won a cup when I began to follow. Therefore, I am not one of those newbies who jumped on the bandwagon as they say just because they were a winning team.

My journey began shortly before the playoffs began in  2013. I’d never been a fan of any sport and I didn’t particularly mind or care. My Dad, for no apparent reason, one night suggested we turn WGN on and listen to a hockey game and see what we thought. We weren’t sure after the first game so we tuned in another night and gave it another shot. At first, I think we all had headaches. At least,  I know I did. I kept going back and forth in my mind where the puck was and trying to get it out of danger’s way. After all, at that time I didn’t know the names of the players. Knowing which side of the ice the puck was at was the only thing I could hold onto and so hold I did.

Given half a dozen games listened to, I began to recognize the player’s names. I no longer had to move my eyes back and forth or make my finger move from one side of my knee to the other. I knew when we were safe and when we weren’t. I started to see patterns and understand the rules of the game. In short, I was hooked. When I figured out that the team was going into the playoffs I got excited. I didn’t understand exactly what it took to reach the final win but I knew we were getting closer with every game. I held onto that. I read the newspaper. At that time, I was alone in Hockey. I didn’t know anyone who was a Fan. I had no one to ask questions of. I was a lonely practisioner of the sport.

As the Hawks got closer and closer I listend eagerly to every game. I missed none. I didn’t go out of the house when the game was one because the game had a life of its own. That night when we played Game 6 against the Boston Bruins was an eye opener. They were tough and I was sure we were headed to Game 7. Then suddenly the puck found the back of the Bruin net and I, along with everyone else, felt sure overtime was at hand. After all, there was almost no time left. Then, out of nowhere the puck was once again in the Bruin net. 17 seconds had elapsed since the tie and now if they could hang on for just a little bit more, they had the coveted Cup. It happened. I listened as John and Troy exploded and my family went wild from our own livingroom. We were Stanley Cup Champion Fans!

The next season was eagierly awaited and with it brought the knowledge that there were others like me out there who loved this sport just as much as I had gotten to. It was a wonderful feeling. I went almost a whole year without ever seeing a single game. I didn’t have to see a game to know what went on. The games were brought to life to me by two men who had played the game and who now told a new generation what was going on at ice level. The newspapers showed me what the players looked like and between the two  I learned much. In fact, I know more about the rules than many of my fellow fans who watch the television. They say I’m missing something by not watching the games, I say they are missing something by not listening to the games. Maybe we’re both missing something but the reality is that we are all Hawk Fans. That is the most important thing of all.

So now I’ve been a fan for over two years. I’ve been with the team almost every game through the ups and downs of the seasons. I’ve heard and watched the players get hurt, return and show the world that they are a force to be reconned with. The Hawks prove they are the team to beat on a regular basis and they have enough Stanley Cups in recent years to show the whole hockey world that they are champion stock. So am I a True Fan? I think so. In the end that’s all that matters.

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