I wish people in Orange County cared as much about hockey as they do Ed Hardy T-Shirts.

That was a text I sent to my friend during the game against Philadelphia.

His reply: “You know that people around here are only fairweather fans…

It’s a good thing for me that Michael does such a good job updating this site with post game recaps. It allows me to take my focus off the bummer of a season this has been for the players and rant about other things, such as the fans. Well, I guess this isn’t about the actual fans, it’s about the lack of actual fans.

While sitting in a sea of Flyers fans last week, amid a loud chorus of “Let’s go Flyers!” I thought I had somehow been beamed to Philly. there were guys in front of me arguing about where to get the best cheese steak. I’ve got to admit that I cringe a little bit going to games against Vancouver, Los Angeles, San Jose, and Detroit, knowing that Duck fans will nearly be outnumbered by the visiting team fans. I didn’t really see it coming against the Flyers. Nothing in particular against the team, but I just honestly thought that there couldn’t be that many Philly expats living in Orange County.

 

I know that hockey is pretty low on the rung for sports fans in general. Most folks I know seem to be fans of multiple sports: football, baseball and basketball, but could care less about hockey. Most hockey fans I know tend to be hockey fans first, with a passing interest in other sports, if they happen to have any interest in other sports at all.

As my totally scientific and perfectly correct study I laid out in the paragraph above suggests, most hockey fans are die hard hockey fans above all else. Combining that idea with Orange County, the place known for its ability to embrace the next cool thing one day, eat it up and move on the next day, (in an ironically non ironic way that’s actually intended to be ironic, I guess) it just doesn’t work out too well for hockey… unless they’re winning.

While I was in college I sold tickets at The Honda Center when it was still The Pond during the Cup run against New Jersey (this was the season when Scott Stevens technically killed Paul Kariya for nearly seven seconds). Up until around February you couldn’t give tickets away. Come the second round of the Playoffs you couldn’t walk down the street without seeing a dozen or so window flags flapping off the side of Hummers.

Truth be told, it was kind of awesome. Sure there’s that “I was a hockey fan first” vibe that people naturally get. But at the same time it’s a pretty lovely thing to see something you really enjoy grow and to be accepted by others.

The sad part was that after the Ducks lost game seven of an amazing series final, you didn’t see any support for them.

We gained some fans with that run, I’m sure. But heartbreak goes with the territory of having a favorite team, of loving something. It’s just a natural part of that emotion. It’s something that’s being reinforced right now with the Ducks’ current season. It’s something that true sports fans accept and probably secretly relish. it’s something that fair weather Orange County “fans” can’t seem to cope with. I mean, really… there’s nothing cool about losing. No one likes it. But real fans deal with it, move on, and think about the future.

I’d love to see more of those people at Ducks games. People who don’t allow visiting team fans cheer louder than the home team.

Tags: Rant