Friday, January 6, 2012

What Matters? Or...What. Matters.

[Author's note: Alison here - this is a cross-post from Heart of a Jacket, hope you enjoy!]

Recently, I've found myself quite dumbfounded by all things Blue Jackets. The main reasons why are obvious...I mean, not much more needs to be said about our team's performance this year. Obviously, building a successful hockey team isn't easy - or everyone would be doing it. However, there's been an inordinately large increase in the amount of grousing among fans that, more often than not, is causing me to just shut down Twitter and other communication forums, and I simply wish to ask us all to pause and consider what matters most to us as Blue Jackets Fans in a big picture kinda way. I'll go first.

Here's my list of what matters:
  • Support whatever it takes to make the Blue Jackets into a sustainable, WINNING organization
  • Be a passionate, positive, educated fan - talk about what I know - learn about what I don't (and learn to know the difference!)
  • Within the CBJ world, try to avoid personal - and organizational (i.e. as a team and fanbase) - embarrassment 
  • Do NOT let the frustration of this season overtake me to a detrimental degree
  • Always try to remember why I became a fan in the first place
Your list may differ, and you know what, that's OK. That's the beauty of humanity - we are all unique, and different and we all bring something else to the table. But there's only one fact, only one reality that I do know for sure - and that is that none of us on this planet - except for three people - are Mike Priest, Scott Howson, or Scott Arniel. Like it or not, happy with them or not, right now, only those three people have a chance of knowing what's going to happen next. For sure. Doesn't matter who we know or don't know, or what we've heard, they are the decision makers we've got.

The rest of us? Well, we are all just guessing. And quite frankly, that can be good fun and tremendously educational. As horrible as this season has been, it's forced me to learn more about players, skills and the game than I had even hoped to know a year ago. Trying to dissect the nightmare we're living can drive one to try to understand it. When I'm talking with someone about Blue Jackets hockey I have to remember that I don't know everything and, heck, if I listen, I may come out more informed than I was before and I may have a nugget or two for others every now and again. Sometimes there's even a tidbit of humor to be found and goodness knows we all need a laugh right about now. If all we each are doing is searching for more info, or like minded people, only to prove that we are right...well, sure seems like we'll miss a whole lot of other stuff too - particularly if we end up to be wrong. (and boy does that seem frustrating btw)

What does this all mean? Well, it means, that, in my opinion, if someone says "trade Nash", "don't trade Nash", "Arniel sucks", "Arniel's right to be pissed", "Arniel's too pissed", "Why bother, let this season just end", "Blow the team up", "Trade Mason", "Keep Mason", "Lines make sense", "Lines don't make sense", "I love Carter", "I hate Carter", "I'm ticked we called up X from Springy", "<insert negative comment about any defenseman>" (all real quotes by the way)...before we all jump down each other's throats, chirp each other or go so far as to be downright rude, why not listen for a second? There's a lot of emotion swirling around out there - search for the information at the basis of an opinion and either learn something, help teach someone else something new or turn the other cheek. We all don't have to agree, but civility doesn't seem to be too much to ask. After all, disagreeing with someone does not have to mean the same thing as judging someone. 

We are all going to have an opinion, (and they are all legit!) we are all going to have tremendous amounts of frustration. And guess what, we're also the only ones who understand this unique pain we're suffering. Like it or not, we are brothers and sisters in the battle that is this season so we're all on the same side. Don't forget our team's on-ice performance (or lack thereof) is giving the hockey world more than enough to jeer, why add to that noise by giving the media extra fodder in sending them embarrassing stories, by looking like we don't know what we are talking about or by acting like we're just here to dump on each other for trying to find solutions in a season that has been severely lacking in those so far...

Just my two cents...of course you're welcome to tell me you disagree - I'd love to have a conversation about it. :)

Go Jackets.


  1. Great points, Alison.

    I've said it before but this is as good a time as any to reiterate my Blue Jackets worldview: I'm in it for the community. I saw what that brief, single playoff appearance did to and for Columbus, and I want that feeling back in the worst way.

    So while individual players are nice (and I would prefer good guys to scumbags), it's always been about the logo on the front and not the name on the back. Same goes for the team leadership. Just get the team back on the right path, get them successful and let Columbus celebrate in the glory that has been created.

    Everything else, to me, is secondary.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. Here's what matters to me. I know they're pretty similar to yours, but here they are...

    1. Be a passionate and positive fan! Remember why I fell in love with this team, this city and this sport.

    2. Support any and every move that this organization does (whether visible or not) and know that they are doing what they can to make a better team and organization.

    3. Remember this season so that when the Jackets time comes, I can say I was there and I remember what it was like. I was with our boys through it all!

    4. Understand that not everyone can stay positive during this long season and not let the negativity effect my own emotions.

    5. Finally, show this team that no matter what, I will always believe in them and follow them through it all! No matter what happens I will always be there for my team and I will “Carry the Flag”.

  3. Why don't we all just hug while we're at it. Basically you just said "Can't we all just get along".

  4. Anonymous - No, that's not really what Alison said. What she said was its okay to be frustrated, but its important to be thoughtful about it, and to remember how awesome it is to have an NHL team in Columbus.

    She also said that we don't know, and probably never will, if Howson told ownership that the only path to 'going deep in the playoffs rountinely' was the h**l we are going through now. He could have easily forecast to ownership that losing hard was the only way to acquire the talent to push through. We had gone as far as we could with the products of the early years of the franchise.

    The message could have been, fix the business model. This is a bona fide hockey market that will survive the losing necessary to take it to the next level (the Pittsburgh model). The business model has been fixed, through arena and travel corrections (realignment). At the end of the day WE DON'T KNOW that Howson didn't predict this to ownership.

    There are lots of thoughtful, committed people out there, who think we should blow up the team, Light the Lamp is one. Ten Minute Misconduct has some very thoughtful suggestions on approaches to take. The Cannon has looked at the coach, and what he has to offer. The Dispatch gives us coverage and opinions. There is a lot of information and opinion from thoughtful people about where this is. Alison is saying take advantage of that to learn about where we are, and try to figure out where we are going.

    And save your ticket stubs. In the future you may want to be able to prove you were a fan through this heck of a season.


  5. Usually, I'm a fairly optimistic fan, but this season has put a real strain on that attitude. Thanks for the reminder that all is not lost. We don't have to go all Pollyanna to realize that things can turn fairly quickly. The Jackets have had eleven years of failure, but it's not an eleven-year-deep hole we have to get out of, this year's team is not the same as that of 2000, or even 2010. There is talent there, it just has to be molded, directed, and augmented in order to become a winner. Until that happens, though, I, along with many others, will reserve the right to complain about loses, disagree with moves (or failures to make moves!), and wish the process would reach a satisfactory level of success much sooner!

  6. Pete, I think you have every right to do that! Indeed I've hand many a rant about what the heck is going on. The frustration this year is palpable. I'm not going "Pollyanna" on this team and this situation...just among ourselves since we're all suffering right along together. :)

  7. Allison, Again I laud you for our positive views. What all of us share is a passion, we care! We also share a frustration because we care. It is very easy to 2nd guess and complain. It is quite another to actually make that decision and stand for the responsibility for it. Much as I like the game of complaining and wishing. I would not like to be the one that has to actually take the actions. How many of the critics actually want to put their lively hood on the line and make changes [particularly when such changes have to be negotiated with other teams and what they have on their agenda].


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