Sports makes us all passionate, especially when it comes to our favorite teams. That is part of the reason we love it so much. Lately, that passion seems to have turned a bit ugly, though.
The St. Louis Blues bring out the best and the worst in their own fans, just any team does to its fan base. It seems to stir up our primal nature in ways we are not accustomed to in today’s society.
This has always been the case as long as human beings have taken to the ice, field or court. People have joined in to cheer or root against a team and they have disagreed with what they see on that playing surface.
Most of the time, that is what is so interesting about sports fandom. You can watch the exact same events unfold in front of your eyes and come up with a completely different set of opinions about what you witnessed.
For the most part, fans have been able to keep their disagreements somewhat cordial in nature. Sure, things get heated, but at the end of the day, usually you remember you’re all Blues fans (or fans of whatever the topic is).
Sadly, that seems to have changed in recent times. Fans seem to be much more at each other’s throats these days. There seems to be only right and wrong and no room in between.
Normally, these sorts of things pass in the night. However, it seems to be gaining steam of late.
For example, some of our Twitter followers got into a very heated discussion that devolved into something quite messy. I openly admit I did not stick around to view the entire argument.
What was sad, from a neutral’s point of view, was how quickly the tone shifted. It went from a discussion about Alexander Steen’s play to claims of sexism.
I’m not here to say one side was wrong or the other right. Each person came into that with their own set of views. It was just disheartening to see it turn ugly.
However, whether it has to do with the Blues or other things, fans are too quick to resort to name calling and saying the other opinions are garbage. It happens in sports and all sorts of things now.
If you could not tell from my writings, I’m a big Star Wars fan. For those that have not seen it, the newest film – The Last Jedi – has been divisive among hardcore fans.
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Some love the choices and risks the film took. Others did not. The disappointing thing is how much hate is being spread in the online space. Sexist, racist or just all-around hurtful comments that have almost nothing to do with the movie have been spewed out.
Anyone that has a differing opinion is being devalued, called stupid and made to feel like a lesser person simply because they see things differently.
Much of it has to do with these arguments coming in the online space. In the past, you’d either have a bunch of friends hanging out or people sitting in bars in the case of sports.
It’s much harder to let things get to those hateful levels when you are face to face with someone. Even in the instances where it does, it is usually chalked up to being drunk or people figure it is not worth escalating it.
In the online space, you can type whatever you want from the comfort of your own home. Blood begins to boil much quicker and there are fewer filters.
As mentioned, these sorts of things exist everywhere. Go on any political, film, sports or news topic forum or Facebook post or Twitter feed and you’ll see the trolls come out in full force.
What brings even those of us with the fullest hearts down is the fact it is invading things we use to escape. The vast majority of fans go to movies or watch sports as a brief escape from the crap we all deal with in everyday life.
So, when we are met with that same inhumanity and vile nature, it brings your spirit down.
None of us are exempt from this. I’ve felt like my head was going to explode in anger from simple words read through a screen. I’ve wanted to send page upon page of anger back at some people. In the end, it was better to move on and let it go.
The thing a lot of people forget is that a lack of debate will only anger. You’re not going to change anyone’s viewpoint.
When people have come with even tempers and facts, you are more likely to get somewhere. Maybe you do not change their feelings on that issue, but make them think differently on another.
Instead, we all seem to dissolve into putrid piles of goo.
None of this is being said in terms of the “Can’t we all just get along?” stuff. That’s a foolish idea and basically against human nature.
It is the lengths of the discord that people should look into though. Some of the Blues top players are not performing the way they did in the early part of the season. Saying that does not make one less of a Blues fan. Disagreeing and thinking some fans are way too demanding is not wrong either.
The funny thing is that both things can be true. Certain players need to be stepping up more than they are. However, some fans are not pleased if Jake Allen does not get a shutout every night or Vladimir Tarasenko has a hat trick every game.
It is perfectly fine to disagree with either side. Bringing personal issues into it just does not solve anything.
Where once we could all agree that being Blues fans superseded all disagreements, perhaps now we need to strive to be better than the online masses. None of us will ever see things exactly the same as the other, but if we pause a moment before hitting send, maybe the negative won’t be quite as bothersome as it has become.
Or maybe I’m just another idiot behind a keyboard. Maybe both things are true again 😉