Tuesday, March 1, 2011

This Month's "Shut Your Yap"

Photo by Linda Hamilton. Used with permission

It's been a while since our last "Shut your yap", but I am in the mood to channel the spirit of former Lightning coach John Tortorella and go to town. So here we go...

Difference of opinions are at the heart of sports fandom. Red Sox vs. Yankees, Lightning vs. Caps, Habs vs. Bruins. There are a lot of people out there in the world who don't agree with you, no matter your team affiliation. Hell, there are a lot of people who are fans of my teams that I don't agree with as well. Everyone has opinions and chances are there are a lot of people out there who think you're full of crap. I bring this up today because someone defriended me on Facebook because they were terribly offended by my saying I don't think the Lightning should try to bring Brad Richards back to town in the off season. Yes, you read that correctly. I was unfriended for speaking my mind.

Unless your name is Steve Yzerman or Theo Epstein, none of our opinions or ideas have any bearing on what our teams will actually do in the real world. On the fan level, it's purely a discussion. It's nothing personal, it's just what I think and would prefer that my team does this summer. The Lightning's coach and I might share a last name, but no one from the Forum is calling and asking my take on anything. The same as you. We like to fancy ourselves as being tuned in to what's going on with our teams, especially when we have technology like we do. The fact of the matter is we don't know everything. No matter how knowledgeable or how many people we know in the organization.

Sports are about competition but they are also a lot about arguments. As a fan, we have to be able to step back and not let our hearts be involved in every single comment or word spoken about our teams or our favorite players. If I allowed myself to be wounded by every negative thing fellow members of Red Sox Nation have said about Jason Varitek's play in the last few years, I wouldn't talk to any one about baseball. I value the words and thoughts of my RSN brethren too much to walk away. While we might not always agree, it never hurts to share thoughts.

I guess it comes down to this. We can be sensitive when it comes to our sports loyalties but at the end of the day it's just words. If you allow words to cut you that deeply, maybe you should find a less strenuous hobby.

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