Thursday, July 24, 2008

Some Fair Weather Fandom Bruin

Greetings and welcome. My name is Jack, you might remember me from such blogs as and , and I am the newest guy that will infrequently post rants here.

Because I hate Bill Simmons so much, and I'm wildly unprofessional, I've decided to dig up one of his columns from 3 months ago, and rip on him for it.

Some Old Emotions Are Bruin

Bruin like brewin! Ha ha!

I am an NHL widower. I have made that clear many times. I cared about the Bruins for years and years, and up until last week, I had stopped caring about them completely.

I wonder what could've happened last week that got you to start caring again?

Still, it's hard to shake your past. On YouTube right now, you can find a handful of tributes to Bobby Orr and Cam Neely, as well as every memorable Bruins brawl from the 1970s and '80s... Even with the Bruins gone from my life, that didn't stop me from digging these clips up and enjoying them all.

This is completely unique to the Sports Guy. Other fans who have abandoned their now awful teams like the Pirates, Orioles, Reds, Royals, Dolphins, Knicks, etc. don't have the appreciation for sports to enjoy reliving the glory years.

In all the time spent perusing Bruins clips over the past two years, I only avoided plugging two words into YouTube's search engine: "BRUINS CANADIENS." That would be like searching for "80 PERCENT OF THE BAD MEMORIES FROM MY CHILDHOOD."

I shudder to think what the other 20 percent are.

The toughest defeat happened in 1979, when I was 9 years old and still recovering from the Bucky Dent Game a few months earlier.

Boston fans are unique because they incur crushing defeats in close proximity.

Naturally, the B's got whistled for a "too many men on the ice" penalty in the final three minutes, which I remember thinking was a complete crock at the time; only when they re-aired the game on ESPN Classic years later did I realize the Bruins screwed up.

Maybe ESPN Classic will re-air this game and you'll realize what a whiney jackass you sounded like for complaining about so many calls.

There are so many things that separate hockey from other sports -- good and bad -- but no other sport makes you constantly think, "Uh-oh, this is good" or "Uh-oh, this is bad."

Certainly not football, where either team can score on any play. Certainly not baseball, where one swing can be either a grand slam or double play. And certainly not soccer, where both teams play continuous offense and defense for 90 minutes straight with only one stoppage. Bill would know that if he spent more time following his beloved Tottenham Hotspurs.

Every Bruins fan knew what was going to happen. I say that without a hint of exaggeration. He was going to score, we were headed to overtime, and we were going to lose.

Shouldn't the Canadien's fans have known what was going to happen because their team was the perennial juggernaut? No, because they are not special like Boston fans.

Every time they beat us, the Montreal fans would chant "Nah nah nah nah, nah nah nah nahhhhhh, HEY HEY HEY, gooooodbye" after the game. It never ceased to be infuriating.

Holy shit, I've never heard of fans doing that, nor have I ever heard of the opposing teams fans being infuriated by it. How unique.

After this particular game, I remember being so downtrodden and frustrated that the chant made me start crying, and not just that, but I kept crying and couldn't stop. My face was buried into our living room sofa, so only when I came up for air did we realize my nose had been bleeding the entire time. The entire cushion was covered in blood. Since my dad was going through a divorce and didn't have much money at the time, we turned the cushion over and he kept that sofa for another few years. Every once in a while, we'd turn the cushion over, look at the bloody stain and make jokes about it. It was almost like Guy Lafleur came into the living room and punched me in the face.

A. Adam Morrison would laugh at you for this.
B. It was almost like Guy Lafleur came into the living room and punched you in the face, but it was much more like you spazzed out and started crying over a fucking hockey game.
C. I'm pretty surprised Bill hasn't written a column called "When is it OK to cry in sports" and specifically mentioned this as an example of when it's ok.

So that's what I grew up with: The Canadiens beating the Bruins. We were the nail and they were the hammer. Nothing ever changed. When I graduated college and realized I had spent two solid decades of my life rooting for a franchise that cared about making a profit more than winning a Stanley Cup, that's the only way I was able to dump the Canadiens from my life -- by not following the sport as diligently. Once the Devils unveiled their hideous zone trap and Gary Bettman tried to turn a blue-collar sport into "NBA 2.0," it was an easy decision to cut the cord entirely.

Read that last paragraph and think about these things:

1. Bill dumped the Bruins because they constantly lost to their arch-rival and never won the championship in the first 20 years of his life. That doesn't sound like his experience with the Red Sox at all. AT ALL.
2. Bill dumped the Bruins because the Devils introduced a thugish, defense heavy style of play, and Gary Bettman tried to emulate the NBA. Meanwhile, Simmons continued to root for the god-awful Celtics, who played in the real NBA, where the Pistons dominated the Eastern Conference with a thuggish, defense heavy style of play.

The Bruins would always be like family to me, but I wasn't interested in following them again until the team was sold. Honestly, I didn't feel like I was missing much.

If your definiton of "much" is championships, then no, you probably weren't missing "much." However, if your defintion of "much" is watching your team play, and building up equity, so that when your team does finally win the championship you can say "I suffered through the bad years, so now I can really enjoy this victory!" Then you missed a shit load of "much."

Look, sometimes a sport can just evolve in the wrong direction. It happened to tennis, it happened to pro wrestling and it definitely happened to hockey.

[shaking head in disbelief]

This was a sport that thrived on rivalries and feuds -- Montreal and Boston, the Rangers and Islanders, Philly and Washington, Montreal and Toronto, Montreal and Quebec, Montreal and everybody -- so by moving key franchises and adding too many other ones, fundamentally, they were killing the one thing that made the sport so great.

1. The NFL thrives on rivalries (perhaps you've heard of the Pats/Colts thing?), so one would think that when it re-aligned the conferences 9 years ago, it would've ruined the league. That or it would enter its most financially successful period ever.
2. Ha ha, Montreal was dominant. People like trying to beat the champs. Every team besides the Bruins should be renamed the Montreal Canadiens.
3. Philly-Washington but no Philly-Rangers? What?
4. Of these epic rivalries he listed, the only team that moved was Quebec, who became the Colorado Avalanche. Anyone who actually watched hockey in the mid-late 90's knows that the Av's/Red Wings rivalries was one of the most exciting in the sport at that time.

Strap in, because Bill is about to get really Bostony:

As a Boston fan, how am I supposed to get fired up during the regular season for a steady stream of Nashville, Columbus, Carolina and Anaheim? It's insane. It's illogical. Hockey should never have more than 22 teams, and half those teams should be playing in Canada, where it's the national sport and the citizens truly care about the game.

I. The Bruins shalt not play a team lest they be one of the original 6 or hail from Canada.
II. Cities lacking in sports history shalt not be granted sports franchises.
III. Canada shalt be granted more NHL franchises despite casting away the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets and Quebec Nordiques. [I am a fucking retard]
IV. Boston fans shalt show their appreciation for the game by boycotting the Bruins, lest commandments I-III be fulfilled.

It's the only way to bring the sport back -- rivalries, bad blood, back-to-back games and everything else -- and as soon as they jettison a few franchises and move a few others back to Canada, I could see caring about the league again.

In typical Simmons fashion, the answer is right in front of Bill's face, but he can't see it. The NHL over-expanded and lost its ESPN contract, and what they need to do is lose a team or two and get that tv contract back. But Bill continues to be obsessed with the rivalries/Candian teams thing.

I write about sports for a living and couldn't tell you who won every Stanley Cup this decade.

I write about sports as an obsessive hobby and I couldn't tell you who has won the past 5 NBA Championships and NCAA Basketball titles. All basketball should be moved to Greece.

Even worse, if I quizzed my friends -- all of whom care about sports except for one -- I don't have a single friend who could rattle off those Cup winners except for my buddy Dave Dameshek, a Penguins fan who didn't get pushed away because of "Sixty-six" (his nickname for Mario Lemeiux) and then Sid the Kid and "Geno" Malkin. So that's not good.

Bill (with bad team): Doesn't pay attention to hockey.
Dave Dameshek (with good team): Does pay attention to hockey.

The NHL has evolved into a sport with all die-hard fans and no casual ones. They need to get the casual ones back. They need to bring back people like me.

This coming from a guy who wrote a column titled something like "I swear, not all Red Sox fans are casual, fair weather fans who only hopped on the bandwagon after 2004! Respect the hardcore Sox fans, pweeese!"

I mention this only because, for the past two weeks, I have been watching hockey.

Once again, why for the past 2 weeks has he been interested?

...the Bruins were pitted against the Canadiens in Round 1 of the playoffs, and even though I couldn't have named five Bruins, I found myself flicking over to Versus for Game 1 just because I enjoyed seeing the uniforms so much.

You were watching the team you'd said was dead to you because you enjoyed seeing the uniforms?

Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies Lies

...they were playing in Whatever-The-Hell-The-Forum-Is-Called-Now. Just like old times ... right down to the part when the Bruins lost. Game 2 happened on a Saturday and I caught the third period and overtime; we blew that one, too.

From Bill's rule #7 for being a fan: "Be very careful when using the word "We" with your favorite team. Use it judiciously. Just remember, you don't wear a uniform, you don't play any minutes, and you're not on the team."

I think it's safe to say that Bill dug up the grave of rule #7's grandmother and did terrible things to it.

But it wasn't until Game 3 that I found myself getting hooked

Guess what happened in Game 3. Write it down on a piece of paper and see if you're right. You can't possibly guess.

-- not for the excitement of the games as much as the ignominy of Montreal fans infiltrating Whatever-The-Hell-The-Garden-Is-Called-Now and cheering on the visiting Habs. Even worse, they had no problem throwing down with Boston fans in the stands. I mean, this was like something that would happen to the Atlanta Hawks or the Tampa Bay Rays.

Bet none of you had that written down, ha HA! Don't worry, it's all just cover for the real reason which is coming up.

Also, I really enjoy that Bill continues to think that it's so edgy that another team's fans would come to Boston despite how many tickets went unsold. What were those Montreal Fanboys thinking!?

No matter what has happened to hockey in Boston over the years, this was an unforgivable turn of events -- nearly as violating as hundreds of British people randomly showing up in Charlestown dressed in 1770s garb, heading over to the Warren Tavern and starting to push locals around.

Quite possibly, the worst analogy ever made.

If there are any English reading this (and there aren't), please, please do this. It would be one of the funniest pranks of all time.

I don't care what's happened to me and the Bruins over the years; the fact that (A) Montreal fans felt safe enough to come to a playoff game in Boston and (B) they could get THAT many tickets to a playoff game had to rank among the saddest moments in recent Boston sports history.

How could this have happend!?

Like everyone else who cares about Boston as a sports city, I was completely horrified.

It would've been prevented if those same people actually supported the Bruins.

And that's when I got sucked back in.

Which happens to coincide with:

We won an emotional Game 3 in overtime

Rule #18 for being a fan according to Simmons: " can't start rooting for a team, back off when they're in a down cycle, then renew the relationship once the team starts winning again. All those Cowboys fans who jumped off the bandwagon in the late-'80s, jumped back on during the Emmitt/Aikman Era, then jumped back off in the late-'90s ... you know who you are. You shouldn't even be allowed out in public."

followed by a number of postgame brawls on and around Causeway Street between Boston and Montreal fans, at least 50 of them involving guys named Sully and Murph teaming up to beat the hell out of someone named Pierre.

Yes, Sully and Murph didn't care enough to buy a ticket to the game, but they clearly ganged up on Pierre who cared so much that he took multiple days off work to go to Boston, watch the Habs play, and get in fights by himself.

Bill goes on to talk about how the Bruins have sent it to 7 games in dramatic and unique fashion, and how he might keep rooting for them if they win the series, generic Simmons bet-hedging.

For those that are wondering, the Bruins got blown out in game 7. Something like 6-1. Simmons then acted like this column never existed save for a few responses in a chat sesh, which Bengoodfella addressed pretty well here.


Chris W said...

"Adam Morrison would laugh at you for this"

I don't know how Bill Simmonsingly self-congratulatory it is to say this about someone else who writes for "your" site but, you crack me up dude.

Venezuelan Beaver Cheese said...

Not bad for a first-timer. Of course, it was the Winnipeg Jets, not the Edmonton Oilers, that Canada cast away.

Bengoodfella said...

I also liked the Adam Morrison comment, that was great. I also like the tag Murph and Sully are douchebags. That has to be used often. This was one of the most simple examples of bandwagon jumping I have ever seen and then he hopped off two days later.

I miss Simmons so much simply because I miss his horrible writing and being able to read it and dissect it.

Chris W said...

Simmons isn't even as good a fan as that dude from the Major League movies. At least he showed up and taunted Charlie Sheen whilst the indians were losing!

Simmons just ignores the Bruins and Celtics when they're not winning

Jarrett said...

Jack - i thought I remembered you from I'm forgetful during the off season, I suppose.

Careful writing about hockey 'round these parts. People get really apathetic really quick. Trust me.

Bengoodfella said...

Jarrett, everytime I check this blog I hope and pray there is a hockey post for me to read and laugh at the curse words in it.

I need a hockey post very soon because I am not one of the apathetic ones.

JimArmstrong said...

Jarrett, maybe they come across as apathetic because your posts suck. Nah, no maybe about it. That is why no one cares about your posts.

Chris W said...


blanco said...


"Unless you had a good reason -- a really good reason -- you fought off tears and acted like a man. That was the drill.

And it held for fans, too. Only two sporting events broke me as a kid: the Sox-Yankees playoff game and the Bruins-Canadiens "too many men on the ice" game. Heck, I didn't even cry after the Sox collapsed at Shea. The only Boston player anyone saw break down in the dugout was Wade Boggs, and that was more because he had lost his mom during the season. At least that's what we told ourselves. Later on, during the 1996 Series, when he was riding a horse in Yankee Stadium with tears streaming down his face, we realized he may just have been a wuss."

And may I say it's very good that this site is loading up on guys that hate that douche. And since he doesn't have any new "articles" coming out soon, you guys need to keep going back and bashing his old shit.

Elliot said...

There's a game called hockey? AND there's a whole league of teams who play this mystery game? Well I'll be damned.