DKM Hockey Podcast

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Reflections of Blue Jackets Society in Literature Part II - The Secret Life of Football City

I've often been refered to as "Miller Time." It has nothing to do with my name, my beer preference, or any corellation with Ryan Miller. It is due to my typically obscure, however well-educated, outside references related to sports - usually in the form of music, literature, and government (not to be confused with Politics, which I detest). A la Dennis Miller. Typos aside, I typically fight the urge to incorporate obscurities into my ramblings, and supress the desire to do so with rich sarcasm. But every once in a while I allow the realm of obscurity to transform me into a hopeless laureate for a sport seldom linked to poetry outside of Stompin' Tom Connors. I am going to allow this post, this essay, to be filled with the obscure references to the Blue Jackets that I have long suppressed. Don’t worry, I am not going to woo with high minded verse of hockey. Rather, I think of two of the most delusional characters depicted in literature, sprinkle in some 19th century French Imperialism, borrow the repetitive use of an offensive term vis-à-vis Mark Twain, and I ultimately can't help but draw parallels to the fans of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

I have decided to turn this essay into a three part post. It is far too long to hold people’s attention, especially given the obscure references. So I give you Part Two.

The Secret Life of Football City

I really don't understand what he's trying to say in this blog.

With the trade rumors swirling around about Nash, fans were looking for an escape form the obvious – the Jacket had sucked for a long time and there was no sign that they would stop sucking anytime soon. Jackets fans attend games late in March that have little bearing on the rest of the world.  The puck would drop and soon the sounds of the game, so unique to hockey, cause the fans to imagine what it would be like when the team no longer sucks. Much like in the Secret Life of Walter Mitty, a familiar set of sounds begins a wild daydream.  Ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa was the sound that would cause him to drift off into a day dream.  Ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa...

The jackets were tied at two late in the third against St Louis. The Jackets were intrenched in a month's long battle to secure a fifth seed in the Western Conference to avoid playing a divisional opponent in the first round. It was one of those games when you spend most of the time standing because you were always on the edge of your seat.  Then, with just minutes to go (insert non-sucking draft pick here) scores a highlight reel, blue collar. old time hockey goal. The cannon booms, the Pepsi Girls grind on eachother, and AC/DC blares confirmation the liklihood of a playoff appearnace. Columbus’s Jack Adam’s candidate coach takes the podium in post game to speak about how the veteran leadership as served as role models for the core of young talent acquired in the draft. Consistent goaltending gives the players confidence that scoring 3 goals a game will lead to victory. The emmy nominated broadcast crew starts talking about a deep run into the playoffs and asks how mad football fans will be now that the Spring Scrimmage start time was changed to accommodate an NHL playoff game. Just a few more games until the playoff are here.  Ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa…

BOOM! The canon explodes and AC/DC snaps the fans from their daydream. Columbus finally scored, the score is 4-1 with the Jackets on the losing end. As a player, there’s not much to celebrate down 3 goals and being 11 points out of 29th place, but some kid from Saskatchewan making the league minimum just scored his 12th NHL point, so they find something to hug about. They boo Rick Nash because he doen't cheer like it's the OT game winner for the Coup de Stanley.  Wishing for somthing good after 11 years, The fans at home buy into one of the two color commentators with no pro hockey playing experience spouting that despite the score, there's hope. There’s hope, because if we can play like this every game next year, there will be a good chance that there is a 60% chance of there being NHL playoffs in Columbus next spring. Ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa...

This is not how a 30th place team should celebrate their only goal in a 4-1 loss.

90 seconds later, after a player in an away jersey lazily skates in behind two Blue Jackets defensemen and scoops up a huge rebound to make it 5-1, Blue Jackets fans are faced brought back to cold hard reality. Their team sucks from top to bottom. $70 a ticket for a 26% chance that you'll see the Blue Jackets win.  It was not so much that Walter Mitty was always daydreaming, it was that he never completed the acts of fantasy he dreamt about. What a lot of people miss about the stories of Walter Mitty was often the it was bitter reality that interrupted his daydreams.  No matter where his thoughts took him, Walter Mitty's fanciful daydreams where always ended by starkness of reality. Ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa.

The CBJ and the NHL Draft Lottery, an April Tradition like no other.

I don't imagine that my #CBJ tweets are followed much anymore. The #CBJ tweet boards are mostly superfans blinded by savage optimisim.  They can't see it, from the top down just how bad this team is financially and competitively.  The marketing department deserves a Nobel Prize fro being able to attract more than 500 people to a game in March.  But the #CBJ superfans can't admit hockey is not the right sport for this town.  Certainly not in it's current state financially and competitively.  This is how I imagine #CBJ tweeters  as hockey parents:  I would imagine they would watch their 11 year old, who has to skate with 6 year olds because he sucks at skating, and tweet every time he shot the puck, convinced that next year is the year he'll make the Pee Wee major AAA team.  I doubt many in Columbus would understand that last sentence, much less appreciate it's sarcastic charm.  Game Point.

Clearly, this is Steve Mason's fault.

And when I finish reading Walter Mitty, I am left with one conclusion as a fan - Walter Mitty was the only thing making Walter Mitty daydream.  Want something good to root for as a fan?  Tired of sucking?  Demand something good to root for as a fan.  I'm not talking about lame 250 people protests standing outside the arena with cardboard signs wearing team sweaters and manifesting suppressed memories in the form of fan embarrassement.  I'm talking about changing the landscape of the team that sucks.  Example:  As long as the Blue Jackets have the sucky deal with Nationwide Arena, they are always going to need a CBJ President who has to focus on finding creative ways to make money rather than focusing on how to position the Blue Jackets competitively as an NHL franchise.  In turn, they'll need entry level "yes Men" as GMs, Coaches, Scouts, etc etc. 

Can't find the CBJ game on the radio?

The county owns Nationwide Arena now.  Dig up those old "Forward Together" cause-heads and petition the county to restructure the team's agreement with the arena.  Sure, it means convincing the only blue county in a red state to alter the 10-12 million dollar a year revenue gold mine it will soon enjoy from the welfare recipient Blue Jackets.  (read that last sentance again, maybe twice.  Let it sink in.  Wow, that sucks).  Sadly, don't count on the arena to restructure the deal with the CBJ.  If the county can't make it's money back in 5-6 years, even without casino revenue, it doesn't buy the arena in the first place.  Don't expect the county to want to restructure the deal without talks about the Blue Jackets relocating Hamilton, ON.  Then the county loses out on Arena revenue and income tax revenue from the arena district - certainly a motivating factor.  Then again, if BlackBerry doesn't stay relevant, there may be no where for the Blue Jackets to move to.  Oh, man, that really sucks.  But let's just imagine how awesome it will be if the Blue Jackets do manage to string two winnig seasons in a row together.  FOR THOSE ABOUT TO ROCK!  Ta-pocketa-pocketa-pocketa...

AC/DC: For when you absolutely positively have to clear the dance floor.  Accept no substitutes.

Coming Soon:  Reflections of Blue Jackets Society in Literature: Part III - from Longwood With Love.

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