I'm curious on other's take on booing your hometown team. This came up this weekend when the Blues lost 8-4 to Winnipeg, and allowing Patrik Laine to score 5 goals. It was a miserable performance, and coming off a 6-2 win over Nashville, really encapsulates the Blues season, as they are inconsistent as hell, but mostly really bad.
They are in last place Central and have the second fewest point in the NHL. Yet they spent big in the offseason, and added some great players, and most expected a great season. Head Coach Mike Yeo has already been fired. And while I tend to mostly defend coaches, as I think they fired too soon most of the time, this made sense.
So, after this game the fans booed the ever-loving daylights out of the team as they left the ice. A local sports guy shared a video clip of the booing, and the responses were just overwhelmingly about how they deserve it. There is definitely not an argument that the fans are wrong and the team is actually better than they think. It's been bad.
But I don't boo for losing. I'm a homer in the truest sense. When my favorite teams lose, I feel bad, but I have always felt like I was feeling bad with my team, that they want to win as much as I want them to win. I mean, how can I mock as and scream at some guy I would ask for an autograph from (to be fair, I don't do autographs, but it is out of respect for someone else's time).
I mean, some of my favorite moments playing sports came when teams I played for were pretty bad, but were able to win games we shouldn't. The ultimate was this intramural slow pitch softball team I played on my freshman year at KU. We were awful. We might have won one game all season, maybe we were winless. I don't remember because the end of season tournament went so different. Even though we were an all-freshman team of people that just met in our dorm, something clicked. We started beating every team we faced, including teams of older player from frats. It was nuts. We did lose in the finals to a team made up of university staff of older (30's and 40') men. I mean they blasted the crap out of us. But that run was so much fun, I don't remember the season.
And that's how I am with watching sports. Most of the time, things don't change. Bad teams are bad, and that's that. But it is so much fun to be on the journey when things do change.
But what really stuck me, as the fans responding that the team deserved to be booed, was that they were derided for "lackadaisical effort" and "not caring." I mean, they looked terrible, but I've played on enough bad teams to know that you don't have to be not trying to look horrible. Not getting to a puck means the other guy was faster, took a better line, not that he "wanted it more." There are sometimes moments when players do let down, but they are far fewer than fans seem to want to admit.
I think the moment that really crystalized why booing was so antithetical to being a fan was a chiefs playoff game against the Colts. It was crazy cold, as in my beer would freeze as I was driving it cold (not hyperbole!). The Chiefs lost 10-7. The Colts kicker missed 2 of three FGs, but Lin Elliot, who had already been struggling this season missed all three, including the last second try to tie the game. As he trotted onto the field for his third try, the stadium erupted in boos, as if that was going to get him in the right mindset. Did they want him to miss it? Yeah, I'm glad the Chiefs cut him and moved on, but that moment really affected me. If, as fans, we buy into the notion we have an effect on the game, why would it ever be harmful to the players we want to watch win?
Several years ago my daughter begged me to take her to a hockey game. She was fascinated but the entire experience. But a pair of fans behind us spent the entire game booing and complaining about Blues players sucking and being terrible. It ruined her experience, and she never wanted to go back to any sports game. And the Blues won that game.
But in the Twitter discussion, I realized I am in the massive minority on this. What do you guys think?