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On Criticism and Supporting Your Team

Are you less of a fan because you question what is going on with your favorite team?

Chicago Blackhawks v Anaheim Ducks - Game Seven Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

—A Letter from the Editor—

I spend a lot of time perusing Twitter nowadays, between my account and the Anaheim Calling Twitter account, and have noticed a concerning dynamic growing between Ducks fans on Twitter. With what happened this off-season and how the first three games have gone, there are a lot of people concerned about this Ducks team. Many, including myself, have questioned a lot of the moves that have been made by the organization in the last 4-5 months and even as far back as a year or two ago. In response, there have been an overwhelming amount of Ducks fans calling out these concerned individuals. You see a lot of people making fun of those who have criticized their team. Many have claimed that they themselves are “true fans” because they haven’t questioned what is going on with the Ducks, even going as far as to directly question the fandom of those who do. Others say that it is way too early in the season to make any concrete judgments on this team.

While I am firmly on the side that feels the Ducks organization deserves a ton of criticism and questioning, my purpose here is not to convince anyone of that. I present my opinion on that front in podcasts, recaps, Twitter, and other articles I write. My goal here, today, is to bridge the gap between the two sides of this argument. I hope that I can help us all come to an understanding that we are all fans regardless of whether we criticize this team or not.

I will be completely honest with you all: In my opinion, blind faith in an organization, especially the Ducks, isn’t productive nor has it been earned. However, I have no right to tell anyone how they should exercise their fandom. If that is where your passion for this team has led you, that is fully within your right. If you want to trust in every move made by Anaheim, that is fine by me. This way of thinking produces high highs when the team is successful, and low lows when they aren’t. Your ever-present optimism will bring new hope with each new day, regardless of what has happened before.

I honestly envy those of you who can do this. While I know that the nature of the NHL means that any team can win on any given night, my knowledge of this roster and this league means that I have plenty of days where I fear a loss is coming and dread the moment that prediction is confirmed.

When I look at the Ducks, I view them through an inquiring and suspicious lens. While no team is perfect, there is no excuse to not pursue success. And when I see decisions being made that are counter-intuitive to this pursuit of success, I feel that they should be analyzed and called out. As the editor of Anaheim Calling, I also feel an obligation to our readers to inform them. When moves are made by the Ducks, it is my duty to bring that information to all of you.

I was not as critical of the Ducks prior to becoming active on AC and then becoming a writer. These experiences have definitely changed the fan that I am. I find that fans who are willing to be critical of their team and question what they are doing to be especially important because, more often than not, official team outlets try to spin everything in a positive light or avoid negative opinions. I understand why organizations do this. Everyone wants to present an attractive and positive image to draw in more fans. However, I feel this is a disservice to their fans. This is very often my biggest issue with Ahlers and Hayward on the Ducks broadcast. While they may be obligated by the organization to speak about different topics within the team a certain way, I find the broadcast to be very often disingenuous and blatantly ignorant. I feel that those in a position like Ahlers or myself have a duty to inform their audience as best they can.

In the end, both sides of our fan base need to understand where the other is coming from. It is also very important to know that your fandom is not determined by whether or not you are critical of what your team does. We’re fans because, even if we may deny it, the result of the Ducks game will affect the rest of our day or our week. We’re fans because this team holds a special place in our hearts. We are all fans because we love OUR Anaheim Ducks, and nothing can change that.

Sincerely,

JC McDonough

Anaheim Calling Managing Editor