As fans of sports, people often have deep feelings and even have personal identities that tie us to “our” sports team in real, complex and strong ways. Tampa Bay Lightning fans, for the most part, are likely to disagree. Many have slowly been sapped by what is perceived as “disappointing”, “embarassing” and “lackluster” hockey as seen when the Bolts have played this season. Let me begin with a crystal clear statement regarding anything contained within this post; just as each and every player, coach, analyst, etc. within the NHL is human, so too are you and me, the fans of Lightning hockey. We feel how we feel and in no way do I believe any of us are truly “right” or “wrong” in how we respond to games or the sentiments we express to others.
In terms of what turned out to be a 3-game losing road stretch for our boys this last week, the views, opinions, thoughts and public statements from fans have simarlily followed suit. I certainly would be a bit surprised if fans did not become frustrated, sad, upset and so on in parallel with the highs and lows of the season as it has taken shape. As fans, we put our emotions and hopes into games and players. Many badly want the Bolts to score on a power play as much as many would like other teams to stop scoring on us. This is what naturally becomes the focus of many fans. There are any number of reasons we fans feel as we do. This New York Times article can give some insight into our fandom as can this Psychology Today article giving a more research based perspective from a professional who studies social psychology. Please note that I do not share the exact same perspective, nor wholly agree with everything written in those two articles, but I do believe they convey the general principles needed for furtherment of point. This now leads me to sharing something about me, personally as a fan, that will distinctly apply to you as a fan and that was not addressed in either article.
Each of us who don our Lightning-wear and await a chance to enjoy Stammer Time, have our own distinct personality types. For example, I am an INFJ. For anyone interested in discovering more about your type, here is a website that has more specific information about my personality type, but where you can explore in much greater depth your own. There are times when I vary by one letter, as will you most likely, and the types are not exact due to external and internal circumstances in our lives at the time we take the test. I have taken the personality enough times however, to have a good basis for claiming INFJ with a few, minor exceptions as how I “work”.
For any fan to abjectly state that another fan is “dillusional”, “silly”, “an idiot” and the like, is how many personalities work within the larger group that is Bolts Nation. Given that my personality type understands that your personality type works this way, I am not terribly hurt or upset when refered to in such ways these days. It is important, however, to remember that the largest majority of personality types within Bolts Nation is offended, hurt and/or agitated when refered to in such ways. Conversely, those who may feel other fans are being unreasonable and rude, mean or “insert word ending in ‘holes'”, may want to keep in mind that it could be just how those fans work” and they are no more or less human than you. Nor are they any more or less passionate fans of the Tampa Bay Lightning than anyone else, including you and me.
If any particular reader of this post feels I am “too cheery”, “diluded” or “unrealistic” about the state of Lightning hockey, so be it. I understand, but I happen to be the type who grasps the “big picture” and who has a firm grip on what is Guy Boucher’s stance on how important each step, whether perceived as backward or forward, is to the entire process. It may come to pass that my perception can eventually show a poignant amount of realism at some point to you. We as fans may be as different as different can be as humans, but we are one very awesome thing together. We are Bolts Nation. Go Bolts!
The guys are now preparing for a home game against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday at 7:30 pm eastern. Let’s see how the boys come out on ice in front of the home thunder and I hope we all be the fans we are, Tampa Bay Lightning hockey fans. Be The Thunder!
Follow and contact me on Twitter @creasesinger and be sure to follow @BoltsByTheBay to keep up with all the Tampa Bay Lightning fan thoughts. Visit my personal blog Singing From the Crease too!