When the Crunch's season started going downhill, many of you stepped in and gave me and my fellow companions advice on how to handle it. Most of you preached acceptance of what is, while encouraging us to think of all the other reasons-- you know, besides winning --that we watch hockey. The advice was needed, and appreciated.
Well, my friends, I can finally say I have taken your advice. It took me a bit to get there, but I am finally there. I'm able to pull out the funny stuff and hold onto it, like last night when a "no goal" decision was phrased this way over the speaker system: "No goal for Syracuse. There was a Crunch player sitting on the Phantoms' goaltender."
Now that's comedy.
Yes, my fellow black n' gold lovers, I have reached the pinnacle of bad-season-induced-acceptance.
Now, if only I could say the same for my fellow fans.
I actually feel bad for the ANA organization in all this. They came in at a nasty time in Crunch history. The Crunch was coming off of two uninspired, playoff-less seasons. The whole CBJ situation had spiraled out of control. Fans felt ignored, cheated, frusrated, and very angry. Things were looking pretty bleak. Then the Ducks came in and pledged to change all of that. No one could really predict things were going to get this bad.
Now, granted, the Ducks probably shouldn't have made some of the promises they did. They swore up and down they would fix problems as soon as they became evident. Although arguments could be made, and I think in some instances it should be, that this was done, it's painfully obvious that some issues have been left untouched. However, I realize this is not just a minor league problem, although some AHL fans obviously think that way. Big clubs make those same promises at the beginning of every season to their own fans and, then, for one reason or another, don't make changes. It happens. It's one of the reasons some teams make the playoffs and some don't. But right now, many fans feel as if we were "sold" on ideas and promises that things would be different, only to get more of the same.
I know I kind of keep saying this, but things are getting rather volatile here. Between the "We want Mirasty!" chants that sounded throughout the building last night, we also heard strains of "Holick, Holick, Holick, you suck!" (For those who don't know, Holick is our head coach) The team was booed during and after a listless first period. I must admit, I don't remember "Boo Birds" coming out that early before. Although a visibly energetic second period quieted some dissenters, the two goals scored in the third by the Phantoms--actually, one was tipped in by our own player, Mark Mitera--and the resulting 6-4 loss brought the negative noise level back up again. Our third star, your very own Dan Sexton and probably the only truly consistent player we have right now, was even booed when he came out to take his spin around the ice.
Logic and sense have long left our old barn.
All of this just makes me shake my head, as I've pretty much already gone through the stages of mourning. I started out strong with the denial stage, talking about the young team, the building, the expected struggles. After that, I became angry and slightly bitter. Then, as Sookie St. James once said on Gilmore Girls, "I don't remember these two, but they were served on the rocks with salt!"
(In all actuality, they were served in a paper Coke cup with about three fingers of liquor from MJ's flask, but you get the idea)
And now, dear Ducks fans, I have reached that glorious acceptance phase. The only chant I had on my lips last night was "Let's go Crunch!" I find no point in getting myself worked up over this anymore. Hockey is fun again, thankfully, and my ladies and I just find our own forms of entertainment if the product on the ice isn't doing it. The no goal call last night was hilarious. I've never heard them get that particular before; usually, they just pull out the bland "goaltender interference" call. You could tell our announcer had a hard time getting it out without chuckling. It was the highlight of the night, one we will drag out and re-tell for years to come.
So, all in all, my advice to Crunch fans is this: accept it, kids. It's so much more fun over on this side. Give yourself a little serenity over the things you can't change or control.
My advice to Duck fans is this: Uh, stay away from unmoderated Syracuse Crunch sites. It's for your own safety. I like you all, and I'd hate to see you get hurt. I'd also hate to see you thinking we're all morons, which is what the current "conversation" at Lindsay Kramer's blog could make you think. Oye.