THE WEIRD WORLD OF FANDOM
I’m Craig Anderson and the following words are mine. If you look at my Twitter account, you’ll see my photo and you’ll know who I am. I don’t hide it. I’m there for everyone to see.
So if I criticise anybody or have a pop, I’ve got nowhere to hide if I’m pulled up for something I’ve written. It’s happened a good few times down the years and I’m always happy to discuss anything I’ve written.
Sadly, there are those who feel they can write what they want, feel a sense of entitlement over it and as we’ve seen over the weekend, the ugly side of fandom reared its very ugly head.
In the end, we’re all fans. We want to see our teams win. We’re disappointed when we see them lose and yes, we even get frustrated if things aren’t going right.
But here’s a revelation. The world is still turning.
You can be upset with a player or a referee if they’ve done something wrong in your eyes. It’s allowed because that’s sport. So to post vile comments and tag someone in it or shout something at a player post game when they’ve finished their shift and are going home, what do you think is being achieved?
Cardiff released a couple of videos raising awareness about anti-bullying a month or two back and one of them involved Ben Bowns, the netminder, who told of a game last season when the Devils were having an indifferent run of form they lost and he was subjected to some abuse by “fans” when he was with his partner.
Online is where the biggest culprits are and we saw it again this weekend when Cardiff “fans” – using the inverted commas again you’ll note – thought getting ripped into the players on Friday after their Challenge Cup quarter final loss to Glasgow Clan.
By all means, be upset your team lost, but what makes you think tagging them achieves something? Do they not already feel bad enough they let a game slip away from them and no doubt felt the wrath of the coach post game without “DevilsFan2012” sticking the boot in here?
It’s important to point out that despite the examples I’ve used, I am in no way singling out Devils fans, many of whom I have met and get on great with. This is a league wide problem and while many go out to enjoy the game, support their team and applaud them off, it’s sadly, a minority who feel they have to be heard.
It’s a funny way of supporting your team and supporting those players who wear the colours.
And this leads me to the point I made at the beginning. This is my view and I’m putting my name to it. A lot of people won’t like what I’m saying here, but they can put a face to a name. I’m not hiding behind a keyboard.
I’ve seen some tweets aimed at other players and other clubs too when things haven’t gone well and I find it incredible that for all the big words and strong language they use, they’re not brave enough to reveal themselves.
Whenever my team loses, I go home with my family, I go to bed and I sleep. I don’t feel the need to vent on a social media platform. If I don’t sleep, it’s because there is something more pressing to worry about. Not how an ice hockey game has gone.
Sadly, it’s indicative of sport in general where people feel they can post what they like. They’ll tell you it’s their opinion, which is fair enough and they pay their money. That’s where the debate ends.
Where on a season ticket does it say you have a seat for every home game and post abusive and perhaps libellous tweets afterwards? Not on any I’ve ever seen.
Players are thick skinned for the most part, but if they’re getting the same abuse over and over again, it’s bound to have an effect on them eventually. If that player’s in your team, what positive effect do you think it has?
To end, I finish with Cardiff’s Matt Pope’s words in his excellent tweet: “You really need to reevaluate your life if you’re that petty, be a better person.”
He’s absolutely right.
MATZKA PASSING A SAD DAY FOR ICE HOCKEY
We all know Scott Matzka’s story so to hear his battle against ALS was one too many, it was a sad way to end the weekend.
Despite only playing in Cardiff for two years, his impression on the club and the fans will last a lifetime and it’s clear the feeling he had for the club was reciprocated.
Reading the posts in tribute to him from the guys who shared the locker room with him show how popular a guy he was in there and with that, you really get a sense of what he meant to those that were lucky enough to know him.
Even remembering those who dropped everything to come to Cardiff for his tribute night a couple of years ago showed a bond that only players can understand.
Cardiff will no doubt honour Scott in some way going forward and knowing the good people that work behind the scenes, it will be hugely befitting of him and his family.
Reading The Player’s Tribune piece he did talking about his condition, it’s scary to think that a guy who looked after himself, took care of his fitness and lived a decent life was taken by something so cruel.
It puts things into perspective and we can only hope there is some comfort taken by his family from the waves of tributes that have poured in.
RUSSELL GETTING A TUNE OUT OF CLAN
I’ll be honest. I didn’t expect Glasgow Clan to get a result against Belfast Giants on Saturday after putting it all out there in Cardiff the night before.
Between what was an energy sapping game and the long journey back to Scotland, I expected a valiant fight, but for Giants to motor on in the late second then third period to take the victory. I was proved to be very wrong.
We’ve seen flashes of what this Clan team is capable of and fans will hope that it’s all clicking into place on the bag of their biggest weekend in terms of results this season.
Losing a player like Josh Gratton was not a decision that was taken lightly, but it was felt for a little while that a change was needed.
Guillaume Doucet is the man to replace him and he will return to the UK to join the Clan this week so the sounds are positive coming from the west of Scotland.
With a trip to Fife Flyers next for the Clan then another visit by Sheffield Steelers on Sunday, we’ll see just how far this team have come under Russell and whether the weekend just past was a false dawn or not.