I was catching up on the Twitterverse earlier, when I noticed the following tweet regarding an appeal for the NHL to schedule one Winnipeg preseason game in Philips Arena so that Atlanta fans could say goodbye to their team.
To which I had to reply:
@mrwpg It was OUR team from their inception. YOUR team is still in Glendale. Enjoy that stat book, we’ll all be cheering as the #Preds THRASH your unnamed team. Have some class, asshat. Eh? #kissmyblackass #gojetsgo #Thrashers
Then @mrwpg offered the following rebuttal:
@thegeekshite you do have a point there. Sadly YOUR team had too few fans and nobody wanted to buy the ATL money-losing franchise. #SOLD
Not one to let the facts be ignored or to step down from a fight, I countered with a combination of formal statement of facts as well as an emotional appeal:
@mrwpg I’m not going to start some ridiculous flaming argument here, but know that it wasn’t just “a lack of fans supporting the team.” There were lots of factors: #badmanagement at the franchise (& league) level, lack of local gov’t support, competition with other–better entrenched–sports, different culture/values, & lack of viable investors. Yeah, maybe the #thrashers didn’t have the mainstream appeal that the #winnipegjets had, but they had fans–just like the Knights & Flames before them–and they were & are rabid fans. We were there for 11 years. We fought for our team, just like you fought for yours. We invested our money, our time, and our emotion into the team. Maybe we didn’t sell out every home game, but we did manage to sell seats in comparable numbers to your Jets. When the Jets left for Glendale, you got a swan song–a “last dance.” When the sale of the Thrashers went through, we got a door slammed in the face. Remember that next time you want to gloat. #dontbeadouche #BETEOPOD #gojetsgo
I like to think that this ended the argument at a draw, at least, and a mutual understanding at best. This whole Thrashers mess has been hell on a lot of us fans, and while we may point fingers and yell at each other across the northern border, the point here is that our team is gone—taken away in a hasty closed-door sale that reeks of corporate mismanagement. Yes, Winnipeg, you “won,” but because of seemingly shady dealings on your behalf. I’m sure it was a similar situation when you lost the Jets to Phoenix: full of woe, anguish, and anger that something you identified with so strongly and invested your love as well as your life into has been ripped out from under you.
I’m certainly not above nationalistic, regionalistic, or even localised trash talk. Such raillery is good in competition, but it can be detrimental after the match is over. This is the point I was trying to make. I’m not happy about losing my Thrashers, and I’m certainly not going to root for whatever Winnipeg decides to call their team, but I’m not going to go about spewing hate-filled drivel, and I will assuredly not suffer a sore winner who persists in gloating over an accomplishment they had no hand in or knowledge of the facts surrounding. I will still sing “Blame Canada,” laugh at their silly hats, and poke fun of their accents, but only because I did that before and because I’m sure that they quip about me being a gun-toting, truck-driving redneck with a funny accent. It’s understood. It’s mutual. It’s fair.
Don’t make it personal, guys.