So this was my first hockey season where I actually utilized social networking sites and technology in my following, and by that I mean blogs (my own and others), mobile alerts, Twitter, Tumblr, etc... Before that I was simply a game-by-game fan. I didn't check stats, watch other teams' games, follow other players, or know much about the salary cap or league happenings. I just turned the TV on when the game started. Let me tell you, all of these technological outlets have most definitely changed me as a fan. Here are the top three things that I have learned in my season of technology.
- There are way more female fans (real ones) out there then I was lead to believe in the past eleven years that I've been watching hockey. For the most part, I always thought that I was a rare anomaly in the hockey community, especially since my da always made it sound like a big deal that I watched hockey as avidly as I did. Yes, I'm aware that that statement probably sounds incredibly dumb. When I watched games on TV (rare thanks to old man Wirtz), the camera operators always showed crowd shots that mostly included grizzly looking men in retired players' jerseys or small children pressed against the glass waving signs with their favorite player's name written across it. The only females I ever saw at games growing up were the ones with bedazzled t-shirts and high heels on. I instinctively knew, even at a young age, that these women were not there for the sport. Odds were their dates had paid big bucks to have them come with (why, just why?) or they had their predatory eyes locked on a specific player and his...hockey stick. Now, in large thanks to Twitter, I know that the female hockey following is HUGE. The women I have met in the past year speak, breathe and even play hockey, and it's amazing. They are all fantastic individuals who are completely devoted to the great game of hockey, and, most importantly, spreading the love around so that others can fall for their favorite sport.
- You know that complex most sports fans suffer from where they think that their team/player is always right/better? Yeah, I used to have a bad case of that complex. Everything out of my mouth was not well thought out or in the least sensitive to other fans. I slowly began to realize what an asshole I sounded like. I sounded like a Philadelphia fan...is something I would have said before I learned to tame my tongue. Gradually, I learned how to have real hockey debates, using real arguments that didn't include the f-bomb every three words. Having social networks such as Twitter and Tumblr has taught me to appreciate other franchise fans' point of view. Being a good hockey fan means being an informed and well-rounded one if you ask me.
- Pre-technology, I really didn't pay attention to other teams unless they happened to be playing the Blackhawks. I was happy only knowing the players on my team and what was happening with them. Now, because I've broadened my horizons and become friends with fans from almost every single franchise online, it's incredibly easy to enjoy watching another team play. This means that I'm also able to keep up with the happenings of not only Chicago, but every single team. Being able to understand the inner workings of other teams makes the entire season overall more enjoyable for some reason. I think it's because I can actually have intelligent conversations with other fans.