A nervous little girl waits behind the curtains. Peeking out into the crowd she sees that it’s a sold out audience. She has been practicing for weeks. Day after day, early mornings and late nights have been spent perfecting her twirls and leaps. As the music begins she steps out and lets the music take hold. She sees a smile on a woman’s face in the crowd and she knows she’s doing a good job. The music signals that she’s about to come to the climax of her routine, looking back into the crowd she sees several people stand up. Are they about to give her a standing ovation? The answer is soon realized, they aren’t cheering. They are leaving. By the end of her routine, only half of the audience remains.
If you were her, why would you think everyone left?
You have been waiting for weeks for one of the summer’s most highly anticipated movies to be released. You have watched the commercials to the point you have them memorized. You even went and bought the tickets a week ago to make sure that on opening night, you would be there. Popcorn and drink in hand, you and your movie going companions hear the hush fall over the crowd as the screen flickers with the first seconds of the film. You watch the heroes battle the forces of evil. You laugh at all the jokes and secretly shed a tear when one of them doesn’t make it through the journey to get there. The final fight is about to begin. This battle decides the outcome of the entire film. You watch as the hero falls to the ground. A sword is poised just above his head as the villain delivers his victory speech. You hold your breath. This is the best movie you have ever watched. What’s going to happen? Suddenly half the theatre stands and starts filing out.
Do you think this would really happen?
Whether it’s ordering an expensive meal and leaving after the first bite, or driving for five hours to go on vacation just to turn around and drive back home just as you pull into the hotel parking lot, it’s something you just wouldn’t think of doing. And yet week after week, we see it happen. People attend the game and within the last five minutes, the mass exodus begins.
While some may wonder if anything you do matters when you sit in the stands, the answer is a resounding “YES!”
During an interview, British Olympian, Mo Farah said "what really gets me through is the crowd, having that energy from the crowd cheering you on.”
It’s human nature. We thrive on praise. When we are doing well, we want to be told that. When we are feeling down, we want to hear encouraging words to help us regroup.
As fans, that’s our job. With each ticket we buy, it’s the unwritten agreement that we will support the team. We will cheer them through their accomplishments and we will encourage them and pick them up after a loss.
I’ve had the pleasure to attend games at a few different rinks and I noticed a few interesting things.
In Moncton, I have always admired the Wildcats fans. I have personally watched them start and continue a rink wide chant. This doesn’t only happen once or twice. The chants happen almost every game. They cheer until my poor Sea Dog loyal ears are bleeding, but every time I hear their rink wide chant, I’m awestruck.
Finally on a bus trip to PEI, I witnessed a busload Sea Dogs fans drown out the Rocket fan base at the game, during the entire game.
So the question I want to ask is: “Why is it so hard to get the energy level up at Harbour Station?” If a small group of fans can dominate the opposing team’s rink, why can’t we do the same at home?
Is it that we don’t want to look foolish in front of people we may know? When we are in another city, no one knows us? Is it that we figure we don’t have to since other people are cheering?
Let me remind you, dear reader, that the word FAN is shortened from FANATIC which means “marked by excessive enthusiasm and often intense uncritical devotion.”
My challenge to all of you is to find that excessive enthusiasm again. Yes we are in a rebuilding year. We have a lot of new faces. Remember that these new faces haven’t experienced how fanatic Saint John fans can get. So the next time you attend a game, bring your bells, paint your faces, wear your jerseys and Sea Dogs gear. Whether they are winning or losing, scream and cheer until you won’t have a voice the next day.
In short, remember that these guys give you everything they have when they are on the ice. All they are asking is for you to do the same when you sit in the stands.
Go Dogs Go!
Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation
Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation