Another blog in a series of blogs that focus on the game outside of scores and reviews, here's one that deals with band wagons and jumping ship...
There are purists out there (mostly Leaf and Hab fans) that believe you root for one team your whole life - win or lose, whiners or not - they are YOUR team. I do believe that once you are grown up enough to make a tough decision as to sticking with a team - win or lose - you should stick with them. After all, once you grow up, you make decisions for yourself, create your own views and morals. But when you're a kid, you may be forced to root for a team your parents root for (I'm looking in your direction Leaf and Hab fans) or a team your friends root for, or even a team that you hear about ever God-forsaken day of the year. Yes, as you guessed, I have jumped ship in the past. That would explain my defense of this subject. Let me give you a little history lesson.
When I was old enough to understand hockey and it's team structure, I would imagine I was a young fellow. My father grew up rooting for the Boston Bruins. My two older brothers followed suit and also rooted for the Bruins. I was a kid, I wanted to be different, to rebel my brothers who always picked on me. How could I get under their skin? I got it, I'll root for the Montreal Canadiens. Not only will that bug my brothers, but most of my friends are Montreal fans. So as a young, naïve, couldn't think straight kid, I went for the Habs - loyally. Going through school I was dressed in all the latest Hab merchandise. Habs winter coat, Habs hat, Habs t-shirt, Habs school supplies, and yes, even a Habs scarf that I still have to this day. But during the 1991-92 NHL season, when I was 13 years old, I began to think on my own. I was tired of the Montreal Canadiens losing to the Boston Bruins in the second round of the playoffs. I used that as my excuse (and yes, my brothers relentlessly teased me about the losses). It was time for me to start thinking on my own.
Don't think finding a new team to root for is an easy thing. You have to go through a lot of soul-searching, and at that point I did not rule out leaving the Habs in the running. So much to the chagrin of my friends and family - I jumped ship. I didn't leave the province of Quebec though, I chose the Nordiques. A huge rival of Les Habitants and just what I was looking for. The Nordiques were a young team then. And don't think I picked a team that was highly successful then either. The Nords were 20-48-12, finished last in the then Adams division and missed the playoffs. I thought they were destined for greatness and decided at that moment, that no matter what, the Nordiques were my team - win or lose. So you see, I never really jumped ship - I just hopped onto another one that was sturdier for me. So you want to know what happened the next year in hockey? My Nordiques made the playoffs, showed a lot of promise in the regular season. They met the; you guessed it, Montreal Canadiens in the first round. Nothing could go better or worse for me. It started well, the Nords won the first two games and I was gloating all over the place. The Habs won the next four en route to their Stanley Cup victory of 1992-93. So did that backfire on me or what? It didn't. I stuck with the Nordiques, I didn't "Jump Ship" back to the Stanley Cup champion Montreal Canadiens. I was old enough to realize my loyalties - to the Nordiques.
Up until living in Calgary for 2 years, I was still a Nordiques fan. Mind you, they are now the Colorado Avalanche and have won two Stanley Cups since their inception in 1994-95. But I was a loyal Colorado Avalanche fan - ask my friends. 13 years strong a Nords/Avs fan and I wasn't showing any signs of jumping ship - err, that is until I moved to Calgary and had no choice but to cheer for the Flames. Of course, the Avs/Nordiques remain a solid #2.
Comments are welcome as I'm sure this is a hot topic!!