Entering A Sports Fandom: How I Fell For Hockey

Picture Courtesy of NHL.com
Dallas Stars at Anaheim Ducks January 15, 2016

I have never been a hardcore sports fan. Meaning, I will watch the Superbowl for the beer and nachos, enjoy a basketball game for the, er, beer and nachos and, um, well, you get the jist. In fact, sports culture has always been lost on me. Feeling emotional over gorgeous men on my television screen, totally not my thing, right? Wait.

Uh oh.

It started innocuously enough. I ran into this adorable hockey comic on Tumblr called Check Please by Ngozi, and became intrigued with the language, atmosphere and culture surrounding the game. I was soon pointed to the GQ line of the Dallas Stars hockey club by Liz Keysmash and then, it was all downhill into the trashcan (my favorite place to be, honestly). I started in my comfort zone, which is to say, I read a bunch of RPF fanfic, as I began to appreciate the aesthetics of hockey. I delved into meticulous research of the game (Yeah, I did research. I’m still a nerd) in order to figure out the definitions of terms such as hat trick, celly and whatever the hell a scrum is. I listened to games on the Stars app and watched a few on tv, started following different players and teams on Twitter and, all of a sudden, just like that, I found myself genuinely interested in the sport. I blame the bro-feels, team vibes, fisticuffs, and, of course, the hot, muscular dudes who take totally platonic showers together, for reeling me into one of the most underappreciated sports in all of fandom. Go figure.

Picture Courtesy of NHL.com
The GQ Line/Picture Courtesy of NHL.com

Of course, living in California, I am expected to root for one of our three NHL teams: The Anaheim Ducks, The San Jose Sharks or the L.A. Kings. But, since I fell for hockey because of the Dallas Stars (and because Samwell is a fictional University in an online comic book), that is where my loyalty lies. This last week, I attended two hockey games (Ducks v. Stars and Kings v. Stars) wearing my Victory Green Jamie Benn #14 hoodie, walking right into enemy territory in order to support my new faves on their west coast road trip.

Man, it was brutal.

The Stars, who have held the top position in the Western conference and the entire NHL up until this past week, lost both games that I attended, much to my dismay and the gleeful joy of all the other hockey fans not wearing Victory Green. Actually, the Stars have been in a pretty bad slump, and lost the last 8 games on the road, which, well, hurts in a spectacular way I never imagined. My fellow fangirls who are also sports fans (of whom there are quite a few) have been super supportive while the rest of my Twitter followers are just along for the ride as I post copious amounts of Bennguin images and cry about hockey on a daily basis. The pain that comes with loving a team that isn’t winning, isn’t popular, isn’t appreciated, this is all new to me, but fandom woes, well, that is old hat to this fangirl.

If being in a (Supernatural. I’m talking about Supernatural) fandom has taught me anything, it’s the fact that people get super entitled and possessive of their faves. I met numerous Stars fans at the two games who grilled me about a) Why I’m a Stars fan in SoCal b) How long I’ve been a Stars fan c) If I’m just there for the pretty boys. Gosh, THIS ALL FEELS SO FAMILIAR (cough–comic fandom–cough). Luckily, I’ve never been one to do things halfway, and so, with the copious amount of time I spend researching hockey stats and the Stars specifically, I felt confident in my knowledge as to not look like a complete newb on the ice. Still, joining a new fandom can feel like hopping into a lion’s den, and so I appreciated the Stars fans I met at these away games who were kind to me, who commiserated with me as our team lost and who were generally friendly and excited to meet me, another member of the team, another supporter of our boys.

Often times new fans are considered bandwagon fans, a concept I have a HUGE problem with because of the elitist views that are so very similar to that of nerd culture. A fan is a fan, and, when I fall for a fandom, I fall hard. Please don’t chirp me too bad because I’m new to hockey. I plan on waiting out the Stars for a win, because I have faith in my team and because that’s what fans in any fandom do–support our favorites for the long haul.

xoxo C. Diva

Do you like sports? Tell me about it in the comments below or over on Twitter and Tumblr.

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