Monday, January 16, 2012

A Little Bite from T-Rex - A Newly Acquired Columbus Blue Jacket Fan

As Rock Bottom enters its third week, we realized it important to try new things and just have a little fun.  While Boomer and myself love bringing you unique articles each and every day (or close to it!), we felt it would be fun to reach out to some of our closest friends (and fellow sport fanatics) and ask them to write about whatever they want.  Today, I'd like to introduce our first guest blogger, T-Rex, a close friend of Gainer's.  If you don't like hockey, or if you do like hockey, if you cheer for really good teams, or have followed a horrendous team all your life, you will appreciate this.  Enjoy bottom dwellers!

"If you asked me a year ago about hockey, I would give you an answer about how things have changed. How the players I loved were Mats Sundin, Joe Sakic, and Adam Banks and how I rooted for the Thrashers but couldn’t name one outside of Evander Kane and Bryan Stefan. I’d relay to you how my familiarity with rosters was based on playing EA’s NHL series and how I don’t like fighting. It was a cool sport I just hadn’t really had the opportunity, desire, or motivation to follow.

                Ask me now what I think about hockey. I’ll tell you about the concussion epidemic, about my thoughts on the possible death of the goon, about the awe inspiring skills of Anze Kopitar, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Pekka Rinne. More importantly, I’ll tell you – in detail – about the Columbus Blue Jackets. You’ll hear about how Ryan Johansen has a smooth style, true maturity, and all around game. I’ll rexplain to you how our blue line desperately needs top line guys and how our offensive/defensive “one or the other” philosophy is self destructive (and how a more aggressive forecheck can do both). I can speak with you how I’m hopeful about Dekanich and love Prospal but would prefer to see him traded because of his contract and market value. I can tell you a lot about the Jackets because I am falling into becoming a hardcore Blue Jackets fan.

                I hadn’t been to many hockey games, and those I had were not ones I was super involved in. When I started going to Blue Jackets games, living in a hockey community, and talking with fans in person and online, it was hard not to get hooked. The speed of the game was dizzying, the depth of strategy gripping, and the atmosphere of the crowd invigorating. I am fascinated by the nuts and bolts of sports, so I couldn’t help but dive in to learning about the ins and outs of the roster. My research also required finding out about the other teams in the league and becoming a fan of the NHL and the game in addition to the team. Of course, I also had to get NHL 12 and play it to death. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

                My friends warned me – a transplant from Atlanta – about getting in bed with Ohio sports. I didn’t listen. The Jackets made so many great off season moves and had so many reasons to be positive, they felt burgeoning to me. Next thing I knew, I was watching a talented squad struggle to one of the franchise’s worst starts. I was suffering through historically heartbreaking losses – staring in disbelief as Colorado potted one with just seconds remaining, shaking with rage as Ottawa snatched away a win, and shaking my head with disappointment as Nashville punched in a goal in the waning moments to come back from a 3 goal deficit – with fans who had gone through 11 seasons of it. It was impossible to make sense of it all, looking at the talent on the roster and reconciling that with the results on the ice.

                Ask me now what I think about hockey. I can talk to you about Blue Jackets this, realignment that, NHL star this, hockey community that. I can talk to you about speed or hitting, about toughness, about genius, about aesthetics and visual flare, about tradition, ravenous fanbases, and moments that make sports worth it all. I can talk to you about lots of things.

The point is that I’ll be talking like a hockey fan now."