Fan perception of how a game goes is judged by a win or a loss. A win can simply mean celebration and praise to the team, coach, and administration. A loss, especially in the playoffs, is another story. Between banter of hate towards another fan and criticism towards coaches and players alike, the word “patient” is non-existent during this time of the year. Whether ahead 3-0 or down 0-3 in a series, the circumstances are the same.
Going into Game 4 amateur bloggers, forum commentators, and unrealistic critics saw this game as being the series finale. Now many wonder if the Hawks fan wagon has lightened. For a team that had rattled off seven straight road victories and eight wins in general, it seems like the team blew a tire en-route to their first championship in nearly a half of a century. The hype and sparkle became dull in one game it seemed Wednesday night because of unrealistic fan reaction.
Why you may ask? It’s called a bandwagon. Seasonal fans jump from team to team, rooting for the winning favorite and disregarding their “week-a-go” choice. A “Made-For-TV” Stanley Cup Finals series is littered with them. A game is just a game to those who couldn’t care less and the same people are those who become the Jonathan Toews bashers of late and Marian Hossa complainers all playoff long, due to the lack of scoring. The game isn’t made up of a handful of players.
What die-hard Hawks and Flyers fans can agree on is the fact that they are loyal and will remain loyal to the death. They realize that this opportunity is special because with the right amount of goal scorers, play makers, and role players they can have the opportunity to win what only one team does a year. Relegated to the fact that the Philadelphia media would hope to extend a series speaks for the respect the Hawks have earned. I can’t say that the other way around.
A fool and downright unknowledgeable hockey fan would have predicted this Stanley Cup Finals series to be a sweep. The Hawks, a team that was on one of their hottest streaks of the year had shown its achilles. Overlooked seemingly by impatience to win a cup, were fans religiously preaching of how easy the series would be. Instead of looking from the standpoint of realism and point out the obvious strengths of the young Flyers, these fans relied on the flaws being exposed throughout an entire series.
In return we now get inexplicable banter in forums, uneducated responses to summaries, and school-yard excuses as to why the Hawks lost Game 3. The series is still young and the Hawks are up 2-1. This is a good thing. As a Hawk fan, I am grateful to have a team mature beyond their years. The Hawks will show they learned from short-falls on Wednesday and play the style it takes to win. At least we hope, because I don’t know if I can take another two days of unintelligent, name calling.