The following post is written by me not as a moderator or anyone with any sort of position of authority here at Fear The Fin. These are my personal thoughts, opinions, viewpoints and feelings, and should only be taken as such.
It's pretty bad in Teal Town right now. Longest losing streak in over a decade. A cap situation that leaves little room for improvement. Underperforming and Overpaid players. A less than stellar history in the post-season. A season of underachievement that seems to be slowly slipping away, and slipping away because of performances that truly wrench the hearts of those of us that bleed teal.
Worse yet, there's a growing fatalism in the fanbase. There is something rotten in the State of Sharkdom. It's only natural. There's plenty to criticize, and criticize we have: the Power Play sucks, the turnovers are killing us, we're slow, we're soft, we're always tired, we're getting beat to loose pucks, our shot quality is poor, we don't crash the net, we don't play physical, we can't figure out what the coach is doing, our off-season acquisitions are not very good... the list goes on.
The fanbase is supposed to be critical. The fanbase is supposed to hold the team accountable. I know there is disagreement on the topic, but I do believe, at times, fans should boo their team. Teams should know when they are disappointing, and booing is an effective way of doing that. Fans should criticize the team. Players should not be let off the hook when they aren't performing. They're professionals. This is what they do.
But, I think the time for anger is passing. I think the team needs something else from the fanbase now. The team needs our belief.
I'm an engineer by trade. I understand the numbers. The numbers say this team is not very good, by and large. The numbers say we're probably not going to make the playoffs, and if we do, we're probably not going very far. The numbers say it's going to be very challenging to bring in anyone to fix the things that are wrong with this team, and unless certain players play better, we're going to be stuck like this for a long time.
But I am also a man of faith. I know not everyone out there shares my particular faith, and they don't have to. But we could all use some right now. And, in my experience, sometimes, you can't wait for someone else to give you faith, you just have to have it for yourself.
I think we have to believe harder than ever in this team, because something is not right, and it needs to be fixed.
So what can we do? Will our clicking our heels twice and wishing we were in Kansas bring a Cup to San Jose? Rationally, no, not even close. Will our wearing teal on gamedays and starting new lucky routines have any bearing on the team being able to enter the zone effectively on a power play? Doubtful.
But not impossible.
Belief is an important thing. Not because it changes the world. In my experience, belief changes you.
All season long, we've wondered what's happened to our players. How did a Western Conference Finalist become the shell of a team we see on the ice? Something's changed. I don't know what it is, and I don't care. I just want it changed back. And I don't know any way else to do it other than believing in this team.
We all chose to follow this team at some point, but we can't forget that this team chose us too. There's a reason we're here, arguing, gnashing our teeth and tearing at our hair and losing sleep. This team isn't a hobby for us. It chose us.
Maybe it was with a deflection in Detroit that made us believe anything was possible. Maybe it was a shot from center ice that made us believe David would slay Goliath. Maybe it was a rookie going toe to toe with the greatest goaltender of his generation and not flinching. Maybe it was with a kid from a little town and a big dream setting the league on fire for one magical season. Maybe it was with three guys, tired, hurt and outnumbered holding their ground. Maybe it was ghosts of disappointments past being handshaked away.
This team chose us too, and we can't quit on them. Not now. Not ever.
Be proud of them, even now.
Be proud of Joe Thornton, whose been burdened with expectations even greater than his impressive stature his whole career, but somehow finds the fire to keep coming. Be proud of Dan Boyle, who overcame the odds and showed everyone they were wrong when they failed to draft him. Be proud of Patrick Marleau, the kid from the farming town of 70 who's made it big. Be proud of Dany Heatley, who still finds the heart to play after a tragedy that would have beaten lesser men. Be proud of Ryane Clowe, who defied everyone who thought he'd be just another 4th line enforcer in this league. Be proud of Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture, who paid their dues and worked hard and earned their stripes in this league.
Be proud Sharks fans. Bleed Teal.
I'm changing my userpic and my signature for the remainder of the season. I'm changing my userpic to the team logo and adding GO SHARKS to my signature because I've decided I'm tired of being angry and upset. I've decided it's time for me to be a part of the team. As a fan, I've been a passenger, waiting for the team to give me a reason to believe.
There's going to be plenty of heartbreak. After all, the list of problems is long, and the challenges are steep. But I'm tired of being resigned to disappointment and mediocrity.
I'm laying down a challenge to my fellow Fin-atics here. If you are tired of the negativity, and want to make a change for yourself, change your userpic and your signature. Show your team you care. Everything starts with a change in attitude.
No, the players probably don't read the board, and it probably won't make a lick of difference.
But are you willing to risk it? What do you have to lose?
Take a chance. Bleed Teal.