Here we are at exactly the mid point in the season for the Phoenix Coyotes (they’ve got 41 games left on their schedule) and we’re all asking ourselves. “Do we feel confident in this team?”
I’m gonna guess the answers somewhere between a fervent “yes” and a weak shrug with a “sure, why not?” And in the landscape of Arizona sports fandom there’s really not much more you can ask for is there? A tepid response to a vague question that portends what? That there should be a reason to not be happy with how our boys in maroon have played? Is that what I’m getting at here?
Here’s the thing, unless something changes we’re never going to win a Stanley Cup. Now, why they haven’t as of yet could be for any number of reasons. For instance, since 2009 until this past Summer whether or not the Yotes were going to stay in the Grand Canyon State had been up in the air. And while that sort of uncertainty has lit a fire under the pants of other franchises in the past it certainly seemed to not do much for this one. And I’m not talking about how the players played. They made it to the 2011-12 Season Conference Finals in the heat of it all. I’m not talking about how the front office conducted themselves. They’ve continued to make reasonably competent decisions in the past few years. I’m certainly not talking about how the mascot performed. No, I’m talking about us. The fans. We need to change.
Ask yourselves this, “Would the Bruins have won as many championships had the people of Boston not demanded it from the team?” Short answer, no. They would not have. Because Boston fans are loud. Sure you can go further and call them obnoxious, blow hard, whining cry babies, but for the time being let’s do our best to hold them up as a shining example of what a fan base should be.
The Bruins drop a game and what happens? The phone lines light up. The fingers start clacking on keyboards all over the North East. Mouths start flapping on the morning news. And all of that gets to the Bruins. They hear it. They’re monitoring it like the NSA does your cell phone. They’re listening, whether you believe it or not, to their fans. And when the rising tide of dissatisfaction gets to a fever pitch things change. Whether it’s desperation in the front office or a little extra heat on the ice, things change in Boston if the fans expect them to. All I’m saying is maybe we as Coyotes fans should start expecting more.
Now, this isn’t for you die hards out there. For you few who paint your faces, buy your jerseys and show up to the games loud and proud, you’re doing just fine. I’m speaking to the casual fan. The businessman who’s got a Yotes cup on his desk, but when pressed can’t name any of the players on the team. “Shane Doan is still playing? What is he like, 90 now?” I’m talking to the soccer moms who make sure they buy a bumper sticker for every team to “show” her support yet hasn’t thought once about getting her kids in a pair of skates and throwing them on the ice. I’m talking to the Sports Broadcasters in the city who clearly care more about making it to a bigger market by next year. Looking at you Bruce Cooper, Paul Calvisi and whoever the heck does Sports at Fox. There was a time when a local sportscaster was supposed to be the number 1 loon for their cities teams. Now they can barely even stand to be associated with sports for fear of being typecast by future employers.
I’m talking to Tucson for crying out loud. Look, we know you hate Phoenix. We’re not particularly fond of you either, but doesn’t a trip up North to see a game sound fun. Hey, we’ve at least got indoor plumbing up here. I’m kidding Tucson. Leave your firearms at home. Just come to a game for crying out loud. Get involved. Make your voice be heard. Get excited about a team that deserves if not demands your attention. Pump your fists on the national stage and fill your team with some good old fashioned desert fire. *
Listen, I know that being an Arizona sports fan is difficult. After all, only the Diamondbacks have ever won the big one. And even that was marred with bad vibes because it was barely a month after 9/11 and the whole world wanted New York to win. So I get it. It’s hard getting up for a team if you don’t believe they’ve got it in them to win. But maybe, and this is a big maybe, maybe it’s us who has to be better in order for them to get up. In the least, it’s worth a try.
I know you’ve got in you Arizona. It wasn’t that long ago the Super Bowl had the whole town painted RED. Let’s get out our paint brushes one more time shall we? We’ve got the second half of the NHL season to get the job done.
That’s all for now. Until next time, stay ornery Arizona.
*Figurative fire of course. Please don’t actually start a fire in the desert. Those things are so hard to put out. Also, I didn’t forget about The Mercury and The Rattlers in reference to the “big one”. Those championships sadly are not “big” enough.