Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Bleed Blue

                I know I left a hint about this in my post about how much I hate fall, but I love hockey.  Specifically, I love St. Louis Blues hockey.   I mean, I’m a fan of the sport in general, but the most important team in my mind and my heart is the Blues.  I’ve grown up with them and I will grow old with them.    Now, anyone that knows even a little about the Blues should be aware that it’s not always easy being a fan; in fact, it can be downright heartbreaking sometimes.  We have 0 Stanley Cup wins.  And we have a history of underperforming in the playoffs.  And still, even with that, being a Blues fan is amazing.  So, just in time for their first game of the season tomorrow, here are 5 Reasons Why Blues Fans Are the Best.

1)      We Live On Hope
As a Blues fan, you start every season hopefully thinking “This is our year! This is the year we win the Cup!”  It’s standard fare.  Not that we expect to win each year, but we always hope that this is the year that we get the monkey off our backs.  We always hope that this is the year all the pieces come together.  We’re a bunch of people that believe in our team each year; unlike some of those jaded fans who just know that their team will suck.  We start off bright-eyed and ready to believe every single season.  And we end each season confident that next season will be even better, with cheers of “We’ll get ‘em next year, boys!” 

2)      We’re Humble By Default
This may not make much sense, considering the previous point, but let me explain what I mean.  Because we aren’t one of those teams that is consistently favored to go all the way, we don’t face a huge letdown when we get eliminated in the playoffs.  We’re (hopefully) not the city that starts flipping over cars and lighting fires when our team gets unceremoniously eliminated.  We’ve been there, we’ve done that, we'll move on and look forward to next season.  We may be losers but we’re good losers.  And I’d rather be that over a sore winner.  We’re humble by default because we have to be.

3)      We’re Dedicated
Let’s be honest here: you don’t keep paying for tickets, watching games, buying merchandise and all around supporting a team with 0 Championships in 47 years of existence if you’re not dedicated.  And we are die-hard.  There is a reason we say that we bleed blue and it’s not because we’re nobility.  There’s a reason why we have the first 2 qualities I mentioned.  There’s a reason why we still hope that each year is our year and why we don’t turn on our team when they lose.  It’s dedication.  It’s also dedication that makes us walk to 14th & Clark in the blistering cold of winter, not wearing a coat because we want everyone else to see the Blue Note we’re proudly wearing (look forward to a future post about how much I hate winter).

4)      We’re Used to Being Marginalized
Okay, so being marginalized isn’t a positive thing, but it definitely adds to the character of Blues fans.   We’re used to being second-class citizens in our own city.   We are right in the heart of Cardinal Nation, so we’re used to getting pushed around in favor of baseball.  Our hockey coverage gets bumped to secondary radio and television stations in favor of baseball games.  We’ve seen parades down Market Street for the Cardinals and been asked “Where’s the Blues’ parade?”  We’ve even seen the Rams bring home a trophy.  And we take it all in stride.  We wait for our turn.  We’re not one of those teams whose fans brag about how many titles they have.  We’re the fans that brag about how much we love our team, even when we’re not the popular kids in town.

5)      We’re Family
Take all of the above qualities and put them together.  It gives us all, as Blues fans, familiar ground to stand on.  We’ve all got that similar experience.  Whether you’ve been with the Blues since ’67 or ’97, we’ve felt the same highs and been crushed by the same lows.  We’ve carried on the love of the game and passed that on to those around us.  We sit in our cars outside the arena and honk “Let’s go Blues” waiting for any one of our 19,000 closest friends to shout it back in return.  We wait for our crazy uncle, Towel Man to go nuts and count off our goals for us.  We sing and dance together as the organ plays “When the Blues Go Marching In.”  We high-five and hug the people around us when the lamp lights up.  We aren’t just a bunch of fans at the game.  We’re a family (and just as insane as any other family).

So, maybe this post wasn’t funny like most of my other posts are (or maybe it was just as unfunny as all of my other posts are).  But, sometimes I feel ways about things.  St. Louis Blues hockey is one of those things that I feel a way about.   Being a fan of the Blues is not just a hobby, or a mindset.  It’s a way of life.  And I’m damn proud to live that lifestyle.  Let’s go, Blues!


Thursday, October 2, 2014

Facebook Breakup

                So, something slightly out of the ordinary happened the other day.  Starting at about 7 pm Tuesday and until around 3pm Wednesday, I was inexplicably unable to post, comment, like, share or do pretty much anything else on Facebook.  And I still have no idea why.  I can only assume that I was flagged as a spam account due to the fact that shortly before it happened I had “liked” somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 comments made by various people in a hockey discussion and that kind of camaraderie and supportiveness is (possibly) not tolerated.

                I never really thought I’d find myself terribly attached to Facebook.  I hardly post anything personal on it.  If anything, I mostly just use it as a place to share the jokes I write and a way to find an audience for this blog.  That being said, upon realizing that my account had been rendered useless I found myself quickly spiraling downward into madness.  It’s not that it’s specifically Facebook, it’s more the fact that I’ve been using the same account there for about 8 years now and have a lot built into that.  I’ve made many connections with people, have a fair amount of pictures on there and I like to think I’ve built a pretty solid reputation for posting funny status updates (a few people have told me this and I took the liberty of extrapolating the data).  

                In the midst of my panic over how my jokes and blog posts would continue to reach the audience I’d built around myself, I came to a few hysteria-induced conclusions.  First, is that I crave the validation of my peers and that humor is the most natural way for me to achieve that.  Furthermore, Facebook makes the approval of my humor easily quantifiable.  So, without the ability to post my newly written jokes, I found myself sitting the broken remains of a Rube Goldberg machine that was designed entirely to stimulate my sense of self-worth.  Imagine the game Mousetrap, only instead of catching the mice at the end, the game gave you a hug.  Then your little sister breaks the game and you no longer get the false satisfaction of a hug from a game that actually doesn’t care about you at all (ouch, that got dark pretty quickly). 

                The other thing I noticed is that in some sense, it was kind of like Facebook had broken up with me.  I could still log in and see what other people post, but I was not allowed to interact with anything.  Facebook had broken off contact with me.  It was ignoring me.  It wouldn’t return my calls or texts.  But I could still see it all the time, still having a great time because it had already moved on from me and I was just sitting a dark room by myself looking at my computer screen and wistfully remembering the way things used to be; hoping that we could reconnect and patch things up because I always thought we were great together.

                I tried to be as logical as I could about the situation (reports of my success in being logical may vary).  I sent a few reports to Facebook explaining the situation (and begging them to take me back, swearing I’d treat Facebook better this time).  I never heard any response as to why my account wasn’t working but thankfully, it was fixed before I ended up standing outside of Facebook headquarters holding a boom box over my head blaring Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes.”  If anything, I think this taught me that I need a lot more practice at being funny in fewer than 140 characters, because Twitter is hard for me.

                There are people in this world having real problems, yet I spent most of my day here losing my mind because I had no idea how I was going to share my blog posts without the use of my Facebook account.

If it ever happens again, I’m fully prepared to start a #FreeRyan campaign.