The Canucks play a completely sub par game and let an obviously lesser team leave their arena with two glorious points; Luongo lets in two absolutely brutal goals that “he’d love to have back”; and most of the team hasn’t scored since last year! Dare to critique them, though, call the game the way you see it, and you’ll be labeled a bandwagon hopper.
Every team does have its share of miserable bandwagoners, of course: the fan who only watches the game when the team is doing well, hoping to ride the highs without putting in the time and effort when things aren’t going so well. Two losses in a row might be enough to send these posers spiraling down the realization they always thought the Canucks were stupid in the first place… but when they sweep the first round of the playoffs, they’ve already started planning their Stanley Cup party. They are the scourge of the sports world, and they’re no doubt the ones leaving their company-paid lower-bowl season’s ticket seats empty three-quarters of the year. They’ll skip the game because they really wanted to see if Steven Tyler will hit on any more underage girls on American Idol this week.
To classify the critical fan in the same boat as these pseudo-fans is simply unfair. Vancouver may have its share of bandwagon fans, but most are simply misclassified critical fans. They watch the game, but afterwards they are going to admit they weren’t happy with the way their team represented the city. They are the ones who say something when Mason Raymond squanders his eighth consecutive open-net chance, or the power play gets so caught up trying to find a lane to shoot or a perfect pass to make that the puck gets cleared before anyone takes a shot at all.
Keep in mind, there is a difference between being a critical Canucks fan and being a Luongo abolitionist. Call a bad goal a bad goal, but when these individuals come crying for a trade every time a goal is ever scored on the Canuck’s number one, it’s really a sign of their poor ability to read the game.
There are just too many individuals that believe the only true way to be a Canucks fan is to blindly shout words of encouragement at every opportunity, as though being unimaginably optimistic is the ultimate goal of spectating. They’re so busy being supportive of the team that they’ve seemingly neglected to learn the intricacies of the game itself. Being critical shows that a fan cares about the result, and that they have some conception of what parts of the team are working and what parts are struggling.
With the Canucks coming off of an enormously positive run and then immediately facing a several-game struggle, the perfect opportunity presents itself for analyzing which fans are critical and which are bandwagon hoppers. Look to see who makes it through the challenging parts, even if they’re critical, and remember to stay in contact with those individuals come playoff time.