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The Price is Right

17 February 2013


ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?????????????????????????????

Hello, everyone. Congratulations on surviving the losing streak. We’ve now been upgraded to a winless streak. And now, instead of a post about the game, we have to have a talk.

Why do we have to have so many talks? I mean, seriously, it seems like there’s a Come to Jesus moment every freaking week. But, here we go.

To what, exactly, are we as fans entitled?

Well, if that wasn’t a loaded sentence, I don’t know what is. I still think it’s a valid question.

The easy answer is that we are entitled to nothing. We are not on the ice, we are not coaching, we are not recruiting, we are not running practices, we are not working out, we have not played at this level, therefore we should take what we get and like it. That’s just stupid. Fans pay for tickets, make donations, buy concessions and apparel, and justify advertising dollars that fund the education and development of the players. Demand, not supply, is what makes it possible for these guys to play at tUMD.

I believe the price of admission grants us the right to be entertained. Not the privilege, the right. I don’t mean inalienable life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness More Perfect Union rights, let’s not be silly. No one is going to war over something as trivial as a bad hockey game, we are not in Mother Russia.

So what happens when we are not entertained? What are we supposed to do?

Nothing. Stew in our own juices. Rage at unsuspecting pets. Leave. Boo. Burn season ticket packages in protest. Jump off a cliff. Cry. Drink heavily. Eat an entire pizza. Tweet. Shake our heads in disgust. Write letters to the editor of the DNT. Watch reruns of the Simpsons instead of the game. Volunteer Friday and Saturday nights at a soup kitchen. Move to another state. Shrug. Watch highlights of better days. Look for people to blame and blame them. Listen to “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” Write a boring blog post.

Obviously some of those are valid and some of them are not. Drinking heavily, totally a legit response to a bad hockey game. Moving away, probably a little drastic and perhaps should be thought through. But what about criticism? Does the price of admission buy a fan the right to complain or criticize? If not, then what does? Season tickets? A donation of a certain amount of money? A demonstration of a certain level of hockey ability?

I don’t like to criticize the team at all, and when I do, I usually couch it in humor or at least do it gently. I really don’t like to criticize individuals, either. (Yes, I just wrote that post about Derik Johnson, but it’s a rarity.) Friday night, I’d had enough. I wasn’t entertained anymore. I was tired of seeing the team melt down and give up once again. I was tired of what I perceived as a lack of effort, and I was tired of seeing the leaders of the team let that happen and in fact contribute to the impression of laziness I had.

Part of me feels badly for posting the mild criticisms of the team leaders and some of the upperclassmen. Part of me felt badly even as I was typing. Obviously not badly enough to keep my tweets to myself. I think I went about it respectfully. I didn’t call anyone names, I didn’t @-reply them so they could be sure to see my angry little rants. I said I wanted to be proven wrong. And I guess last night, I kind of was. A little bit. I wouldn’t say I was overjoyed with the game last night, but they did score a 3rd period goal and end the losing streak, and Danberg did get that monkey off his back with a goal. I still wouldn’t say I was entertained for any length of time, but there were some bright spots toward the end that game me hope I might be entertained at some point in the future.

We can all learn something from this stretch of games. We haven’t seen such a bad stretch in years, and we know we are all lucky we have not, so we can keep that in mind when we’re frustrated. We can maybe be a little nicer in our criticism, maybe remember we’re talking about humans who, while they are effectively being paid in the form of education and living stipends, are not making millions of dollars. But the players can learn something too, that while they don’t owe the fans everything we ever demand, they do owe us their best efforts to entertain us. That is, after all, the reason they are there.

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