Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Ottawa Senators and Mediocrity

I occasionally check out and contribute to a website called Hockey Trade Rumors (careful, there are a lot of popups if you are using IE6/7...and they spell Rumours that way, not me :) ). Back on February 26th, after the NHL trade deadline, I commented on a thread and wrote:
My prediction is a 7th seed going into the playoffs and a quick exit in the 1st round. I don't see this team pulling together and rising above their current mediocrity to avoid this fate.

I am a Sens fan, by the way.


When I wrote this, the Sens were still in 1st in the Eastern Conference. I later added:
The Sens have NOT played well since their 15-2 start. In fact, they are below .500 since that start.

At this rate, I will revise my prediction of a 7th place finish and actually predict them to be OUT of the playoffs altogether. This team has never shown the fortitude to pull out of slides...ever.


Ok. So I was ONE WIN wrong about this. In fact, had Carolina won, Ottawa would have been out of the playoffs altogether.

I bring this up because of the slew of articles decrying fans in Ottawa. In particular, Kelly Egan of the Ottawa Citizen wrote a column entitled: O Sens Army, where art thou?. He goes on to scold the fans who have seemingly deserted the team...fans who last year proudly stuck Sens flags out the windows of their cars in the thousands. He wonders "...whether the city has, under its pallid, bureaucratic exterior, a fickle heart." He later goes on to write:
In any professional sport, really, there is one champion; everyone else loses. Yet there are millions of fans. Why?

Because the plight of the fan is to make peace with losing. The fun part is to not look beyond one game, or even one period. Because sport and sport-watching, is the moment, not the end.


I would put it to Mr. Egan that the heart isn't fickle...it is both discerning and realistic. I didn't pick the Canadian's Men hockey team to win ANY medals at the last Olympics. Not because I wasn't a "fan", but because I understand that the team that was chosen was old and slow and couldn't compete at the Olympic level. I was right. Doesn't make me "fickle"...it makes me smart. I always wonder at the legion of fans of teams that do not have a chance at winning much, if anything. Take Major League Baseball, for instance. Why would "fans" of a terrible team (take the Detroit Tigers...as of this post, they are 0-7), teams that have no hope of ever winning because they cannot afford the astronomical salaries, bother going to or watching a game? What is the freaking point? The joy of the sport? Who likes to lose on a nearly constant basis? Well, except for fans of the Maple Leafs.

I must contradict Mr. Egan when he writes that "..sport and sport-watching, is the moment, not the end." It most certainly IS about the end, otherwise there is no point at all.