Monday, January 14, 2013

Robert Frost, the CBJ Fan

One of my favorite classes I ever took in college was an elective poetry class. It wasn’t a creative writing. This poetry class was about reading a poem in context to discover the author’s message or the poem’s purpose. We were not trying to delve into the mind of the tormented poet to ease their pain. We were learning how to listen to what the poet was saying. Through this, I discovered Robert Frost, who I have come to believe was a long suffering Blue Jackets fan. How do I know this? Quite easily, he left us the poem "Acquainted with the Night."

This is like looking a picture of a girl you used to love
with all your heart who dumped you for a pretty boy
named Todd Slawson.

Acquainted with the Night is a five stanza poem written in the under-utilized ‘Terza Rima’ meter and rhyme scheme. If we break the poem down stanza by stanza, and read each line grammatically, we can see the trials and tribulations of a Blue Jackets fan. Robert Frost had feelings of being alone in his love for the CBJ and wasn't sure whether or not to give up on the Blue Jackets after the 2011-2012 season. It was was season of hope that turned out to be the season of doubt. Carter was a bust, Nash wanted out, Arniel was canned, and fans were left with nothing. Robert Frost spend a considerable amount of time being emotionally conflicted over the team, searching for something that could silence his doubt and give him sincere hope.  The unknowing chasm of the lockout mixed with the sting of 2011-2012 and the muted optimism of off-season acquisitions tormented every Blue Jackets fan's heart since last April.

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rain -- and back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.
Immediately we see the doubt and sense of hopelessness of Frost’s love for the Blue Jackets. Robert Frost knows darkness of the night. He feels alone being a fan of the Blue Jackets he searches aimlessly for a reason to believe. Frost’s taking long walks at night in the rain, long walks that that make the shiny beacon of light beaming from Nationwide Arena disappear over the horizon - Long walks of metaphoric doubt finding ways to justify another year of season tickets in section 102.  Frost has wandered, and wandered far. He’s wandered so far that he’s found himself right back from where he first began wandering from. The dreaded circular logic, last season offered so much hope and ended poorly. Hope is rekindled this offseason with new faces, but how is that any different. What is Frost searching for? What we all are:  am I all alone, is there nothing greater for a Blue Jackets fan? Conflicted, he loves something that doesn’t seem to love him back.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.


Frost has spent a long time searching for something to make him believe again. He’s even searched for it in Toronto as described by "looked down the saddest city lane." He thought if he could look at the opitomy of misery, he would know how to escape it. But Toronto offered no such answers, they had their own advisors, their own miserable drafts, and mailed off their own beloved talent. Still, the fans paid a premium and packed the arena while mercilessly taunting Blue Jackets fans. As Frost continued his walk, he passed the judgemental fans of other teams, who looked at him and offered their pity seeing him in that rain soaked Blue Jackets jersey of self-doubt. He averted their glances, for a response they could understand could not be given. He knew he loved the team, but didn't know if he could continue.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,


Frost had walked so long and searched so deeply that he stopped for a moment, ready to give up on the team. He had stood by them loyal for 10 years and was nearing the end of what he could give. And it was when he stopped walking, and had a chance to listen, that he heard something speak to him. Something near he did not expect to hear.

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
A luminary clock against the sky


Frost found himself in the arena district, staring up at the luminous clock that stands tall above the corner of Nationwide Blvd and Front Street. The time on the face of the clock was unimportant, but what was important - where the clock was, where it stood against the sky, that spoke to him.  It wasn't up to the Blue Jackets if Frost should continue to care.  Win or lose, the Blue Jackets were Columbus' team.  He was in the arena district, and no matter what Frost did, the Arena district was there because of the Blue Jackets.  The one place a person could go to know they are not alone in their love for the Columbus Blue Jackets was the arena district.

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night.


That luminous LED clock shining brilliant against the night sky offered Frost comfort. As long as the arena district was there to support the team, as longs as fans like him came to the arena district and showed their pride, Frost knew he would never be alone, there would never be a reason to doubt. As alone as he felt as a Blue Jackets fan, that clock in the arena district reminded him he was not alone.   He would never have to explain his love for the team to anyone in the Arena District - they would already know simply by him being there. Being a Columbus Blue Jackets fan is so much more than the team’s place in the standings. It’s about sharing the experience of being a fan with other Blue Jackets fans. It’s about being part of a fan base that beyond the losing encourages everyone to come out and support something that is truly unique to Columbus. Frost has been acquainted with the night, but with the lockout over, and he’s had a chance to see training camp, all that is behind him now. No more doubt when you witness the crowd at training camp - hosted by the Arena District.

 

Yeah, that line looks pretty good.

 

Acquainted with the Night

By Robert Frost

I have been one acquainted with the night.
I have walked out in rainand back in rain.
I have outwalked the furthest city light.

I have looked down the saddest city lane.
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain.

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say good-bye;
And further still at an unearthly height,
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right. 
I have been one acquainted with the night.


2 comments:

  1. GREAT. Simply great.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Todd Slawson must be a real jerk.

    Great piece!

    ReplyDelete