Monday, April 5, 2010

No rivalry simply for bandwagon's sake

And lest Detroit fans think I'm simply a Hawks fan looking to stir the pot:
One of my closest friends here in Chicago grew up in Detroit and is a life-long, diehard-devoted Wings fan. He also admits a certain amount of enjoyment and "localized loyalty" towards the Blackhawks, as he has lived in Chicago nearly two decades; therefore, he enjoys going to see the Blackhawks play, and will root for them in contests where the Wings are not in the picture, but I can guarantee you that when it comes to Chicago vs. Detroit, for him, there is no question.
His knowledge of hockey is deep and intricate; he can pull hockey minutae from the depths of his brain on command, and therefore, I have had many an in-depth discussion with him about hockey and learned a great deal about the Midwestern teams from him. Of course, his knowledge about Detroit is deepest, but what's most enjoyable about talking hockey with him is that he is thoughtful about his discussions. None of our hockey discussions, no matter how heated, ever degrade into either of us telling the other's team sucks (and meaning it). Having an opinion does not make something a fact; but I greatly appreciate discussing sports (or anything, for that matter) with somebody who at least bases their opinions off facts, not emotions.
While I give him the occasional ribbing about Detroit (and likewise, he gives it back about Chicago), we both look at each other and roll our eyes when sitting at a Hawks/Wings game at the UC and people start chanting "Detroit sucks". There have also been other things that the hometown Chicago crew boos at which we've rolled our eyes at, too.
(Despite everything, I still don't get why Wings fans want to throw dead celopods/fish on the ice. I know the reason why, but... yuck.)
As for my own views on the Red Wings: while I may have a certain amount of dislike for the Wings, I cannot say I hate them on any level. They're a big, hard-hitting team, but they also have the skills to win, and win consistently, and that's a record I can respect.
I grew supporting the Whalers; I think the main reason I didn't go on to claim the Hurricanes as my new home team was that I was disappointed that hockey was taken away from Hartford just when I moved back to CT. (Sort of free-agentdom til I decided on a new team, ha ha.) I already had many friends from school who were die-hard Hawks fans, so when I moved to Chicago myself, it was an easy fandom to transition to supporting. However, I should note that I don't really get on that whole "Detroit sucks" thing; they've been the dominant team in the area for almost as long as I've been here, so it's just simply a given that they're a strong team.
And while, even after nearly a dozen years, I cannot even begin to pull up the trivia on my own home team that my friend can pull up on his, we have a peaceful and friendly "rivalry" that adds to our hockey enjoyment.

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