Monday, April 6, 2015

Bob Lobel: An Ode to Bruins Fans

By Bob Lobel (@boblobel)

They are the best of fans and they are the worst of fans. 

Trying to compare the fan bases of our professional sports teams is not easy. It's like trying to explain why one pizza is better than another.  Clearly, any team that is winning attracts the die hards, the “I told you so” group, the “remember whens”, the singled out heroes, the coach that ownership knew would win, and the money spent by that owner. Blah, blah, blah. 

You know the obvious signs and sayings. It is, of course, the opposite when teams underachieve. That is fan speak for “they  suck." For some reason, the Bruins usually can wear both the "team to beat” hat and the “they suck” hat.

When that change occurs, it goes from "we" and "us," to "them" and "they." 

This is why, at best, they are the third best, in numbers, fan base in town. They give nothing away to the Pats or Sox when it comes to passion. Bruins fans lead the league in wearing their hats and jerseys, and missing teeth. They understand a difficult game on many levels.  Not as difficult as field hockey, but more so than football and baseball. 

They are fans that give their team as much as they can as long as their team gives the same to them. The brilliance of these fans is they can tell when they are getting the best or something less, and are not afraid to speak their mind.

The owners have done their best to screw up the sport because they see money when the fans see hockey. The game  has survived Jeremy Jacobs and Gary Bettman. The fans know that. These fans are anything but stupid, however they are not served well by their blind loyalty. 

Owners surely know how to milk that one-way loyalty, and a few have for years. For the people who add just awful shootouts or rule changes to accommodate television, yet, despite all attempts, they cannot kill the game. They have tried, but once again they are saved by the playoffs. 

The playoffs provide the only real hockey a fan can get during a 12 month period. Playoff hockey, as long as your team is in it (where the hell is Tim Thomas?), leads this time of the year where it all breaks loose. The NHL playoffs lead baseball, The Final Four, the almost unwatchable NBA, The Masters (thank you for playing Tiger) and playing golf ourselves. 

It goes from nothing to everything. Did we win another Super Bowl, or do I just think we did?

I know one thing about Bruins fans: No parade, no happy place.

No, they didn’t get a parade for winning the Presidents' Trophy last year. 

Oh, I forgot to add the side shows taking place in the courtrooms. Do the kid bomber and the shooter stay in jail? Does the shooter/football player/bad guy beat this circumstantial evidence facing him, and does the kid bomber convince the jury his older brother was the real bad guy, but he is unfortunately already dead? 

Does this kid join his dead brother somewhere reserved for people like them? This is becoming some spring. 

Bruins fans are perplexed, Red Sox fans are confused, Patriots fans haggle about the draft, and Celtics fans want to tank so they have some reason to hope.

Hope is not in short supply. 

Turning it into all those things these fans need to complete their lives is another matter.         

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