The Chicago Blackhawks are now rightfully the villains.
We’re supposed to be the team that everyone loves to hate because we’re so skilled, because we’re so poised and unflinching in our confidence, and because we have a championship pedigree. But in one summer and a season, we’re now hated for all the right reasons. We’ve gone from ignoring our fan base under Bill Wertz (blacking-out home games, driving star players away, ignoring veteran players as ambassadors) to alienating them with the actions of a drunken douchebag almost-rapist, a repeat-offending face-slashing goon, and a hot-headed, double-middle-finger flailing idiot spouting homophobic rantings on national tv. But hey, we have three cups in six seasons!
This is not about my team anymore, it’s about hockey as a sport, and something, until this season, I was proud to bond with my fellow hockey brothers and sisters over, and to invite non-hockey-fans to watch and cheer for. Hockey is a sport which takes the skill, the teamwork, and the endurance to test yourself physically and mentally in a fast-paced, enclosed, and oftentimes dangerous environment to win. It has always been a physical representation of the mental and psychological battles we face in any given day as human beings. This is why I love it. But now, I don’t know if this is the right thing to think anymore.
Maybe all of sports is flawed, because, yes, you’re going to get assholes or men acting like assholes in every sport. But there’s no excuse for the way my team has acted lately. And, really, the only two arguments you have to support their actions is 1, they made bad, heat-of-the-moment decisions and they’re sorry it; or 2, what can you do? That’s hockey. Which has me struggling to answer a question that has become more and more bleak every time I ask it–You want a Cup, don’t you?
Well, don’t we?
Where do we draw the line? When do we stop saying ‘I don’t support what they’re saying or doing but I understand their passion behind it. It was a mistake and they’re sorry for it’ and start saying ‘Enough is enough. How many times do they have to embarrass me with their words and their actions.’? And I understand too that we constantly let all of our celebrities off the hook. We’ll keep watching movies and listening to music from people addicted to drugs, breaking the law, and being assholes. But this hits home because these are my boys and I used to stand up for them and be proud of them. I’m disappointed, and I’d be feeling this way even if we were leading the series 3-0. But, then, you know what, maybe I wouldn’t be. Maybe I’d just be shrugging it off for the Cup and going ‘Well, they’re all assholes but they’re OUR assholes.’ It’s not right.
Sorry to be such a downer, but this is whole season has shaken me as a Hawks fan. I have a two-year-old niece and a one-year-old nephew, and I now find myself questioning the integrity of a team I love and of a sport I adore.
The 2016 season is in the can, as far as I’m concerned. And it wouldn’t even matter if we somehow pulled ourselves out of this hole. The Chicago Blackhawks have become the one thing I hated about other rivals–dumb idiot jocks displaying their despicable actions. A few players have spoiled it for the rest of the team.