I came across this interesting news bit over at Dennis-Kane’s blog and I found it really interesting. For those of you who don’t want to click the pretty link I’ll sum it up quickly. It’s about a guy named Richard who, for the last 30 years, has been an avid fan of the Canucks. After the Canucks lost in spectacular fashion to the Sharks, Richard decided to call it quits with the team. Not because they lost necessarily, but because he felt that his emotional outburst at his wife following the game, was unwarranted. He felt that he was expending too much emotion into a sports team. He feels that it was time to step back and call it quits.
I found it interesting because I know that there are many people in this city who were like Richard before he called it quits. I will be the first to admit that I have at times gotten carried away with my emotions following a particular performance from the Habs. I think it’s easier to get carried away in this city because there are so many enthusiastic people here.
You do realize that this is slightly unhealthy right? At the end of the day it’s still just a game. Yes, I know that the Habs mean a lot more to this city than the Canucks will ever mean to Vancouver. It’s different with the Habs. The Habs are a very big part of this city. The political and cultural situations in Montreal and Quebec have often thrown their mark on the team or vice-versa.
With the centennial year being this year things have heated up a lot here. If we were very interested in the Habs before, we’re downright obsessed now. And this is what I want to address really. This obsession over winning the Cup this year and expecting this team to be more than it is.
The Habs are a good team.
We know. I know. You know. The guys on the team know. Heck, even my dogs probably know.
But the reality of the situation is that right now they are not the fantastically wonderful drop dead team that everyone seems to think that they should be.This team isn’t going to turn into San Jose or Detroit over night. It’s going to take time to build this team into something like those teams. They’ve got a lot of younger guys who can help build the team into a real contender for the cup in the future. It can happen. But not right now.
No, I’m not just saying this because I’m bitter that they lost. Again. In a stupid fashion for their third straight game.
I’m not saying that they can’t win the Cup this year. Once you’re in the playoffs anything can happen. The playoffs are a very different beast. I’m not saying that they’re about to go on a 12 game losing streak either or that they’ll just squeak into the playoffs. I think they’ll have a good finish and get a good seeding in the playoffs. And they’ll probably have a decent run at it.
I’m saying, we have to stop putting such high and unrealistic expectations on this team. And stop being so freaking obsessed.
The thing is, this whole centennial thing, while it’s great and all that to remember your team’s history, is sucking the life out of this season right now. The players, the staff, the whole organization are under a huge amount of pressure right now to win. Every single little mistake, every little bit of information that we get, every little aspect of the whole organization is being scrutinized to death. I’m sure that all this happened before but I think it’s intensified more now.
This obsessiveness towards the centennial year is keeping us from enjoying what’s going on now. It’s keeping us from supporting our team in the right way. Every win that they get is met with a sigh of relief and with the private thought that “yeah, they should have had that win anyway…” rather than a “oh yes! They won!”. Every loss is met with huge criticism – and yes, there have been quite a few games that they shouldn’t have lost but that’s is a completely different thing.
It’s one thing to dream about them winning the Cup this year, but it’s quite another to take that dream and turn it into an obsessive thought that says that they have to win it this year or else they’re doomed for the rest of eternity. That’s setting up the dream of reliving all of our past glories into the nightmare of incredibly bitter disappointment if it doesn’t happen.
It’s killing the fun of the game. I’m not about to abandon my team. Once a Habs fan, always a Habs fan. But I just think everyone should stop the obsessive behavior. Take a step back and put things in perspective. If we’re not willing to at least see this as just a game, then let’s see this as a team who is doing well, better than last year, but who really shouldn’t be expected to bring home the Cup this year.