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Chicago Blackhawks: (Im)perfect Fan Guide

By Sean Fitzgerald
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After watching the Chicago Blackhawks’ Stanley Cup parade and rally, I’ve seen some complaining about how many people are Blackhawks fans now. I became really irked by those statements; people were upset that “other”people liked their favorite sport and team.

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I have already addressed the idea of bandwagon versus die-hard Blackhawks fans, and I feel that neither of those parties is perfect.

Now since perfection is not attainable for mere mortals such as myself, I thought I would try to define a “perfect fan” as best as possible. My definition of the perfect Blackhawks fan will be incomplete, since everyone has a different definition. This makes he or she the imperfect Blackhawks fan.

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  • Here are my criteria of the (im)perfect Blackhawks fan:

    Passionate about the team and sport. This is very simple and shouldn’t need to be said, but if you are going to be a fan, then you must be passionate about the sport and your team. Fan is short for fanatic. The statement “it’s only a game” should not leave your mouth with any seriousness.

    Knowledge of the current team and the game. If you are a fan of the Blackhawks, you should be able to tell me what position Corey Crawford plays or who the head coach of the team is. You do not need to know Crawford’s save percentage in the Stanley Cup Final (it was .938, for those interested) or who the Blackhawks traded to acquire Patrick Sharp (Sharp and Eric Meloche were traded to the Blackhawks for Matt Ellison and a third-round pick). As a fan, you must also be able to identify the basic rules of hockey, such as icing, too many men on the ice and how a team is offside. If you don’t know these rules, check in with my ongoing Hockey 101 series”.

    Knowledge of the franchise. If you are going to be a fan of a team, learn about the franchise. People should know who the all-time greats are; in the case of the Blackhawks, those are Dennis Savard, Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita, among others. People should also know the Blackhawks were founded in 1926, and that their all-time points leader is Mikita. Your knowledge does not have to be too in-depth, but you should know those basic things.

    Watch regular-season games. If you are going to be a fan of the team, you need to watch or listen to regular-season games. It does not have to be “must see” TV every night in your house, but if the game is on and you can watch it, watch the game. On nights when you can’t watch or listen to the game, check out the score online, read the recap article on blackhawkup.com or ask someone what happened in the game you missed. There is no excuse not to know what is going on with the team.

    Share with others. If you are more knowledgeable fan, educate others about the game and team, but do it with respect. The Blackhawks are becoming more and more popular after a lengthy time of disconnect from the city, so be patient with others who have not been so quick to come back to the franchise.

    Commit to the Indian. Savard said it best as the team’s coach in 2008, offering up the phrase “Commit to the Indian” and indicating those who don’t should get out. The Blackhawks are riding an impressive wave of momentum and victories right now. When the winning on a regular basis stops, if you are a (im)perfect fan, you will remain a fan. You will not stop following the Blackhawks because they are not as good.

    Own apparel. Fans need to own a hat, T-shirt or something with the team logo on it.

    These are my criteria for the (im)perfect Blackhawks fan. These criteria also might be applicable to any sport and any time.

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