Why Don’t I Care?

A brutally honest assesment of the Nottingham Panthers and how he feels about our play-off exit from Paul Balm in his weekly column. I’m guessing that many others feel exactly the same way…

I’ve thought long and hard over the last sixteen hours about what I was going to write about this week. I’d already thought of a subject – Why I hate the playoffs, which was going to be about how the format is wrong, how they’re not actually about ice hockey, the fact that being old and grumpy I don’t like fancy dress (never have, not even when I was a kid, I just don’t see the point) and mainly about how abhorrent I find the whole concept of “on loan to” signs. I know I said that I can’t watch a game with complete neutrality but I draw the line before actually supporting another team no matter how temporarily.

I’d got most of it written in my mind already which I can assure you is very rare for me and I’d even thought of a last line for if Panthers didn’t go through – “But you know what the worst thing is? Your team not being there.” I didn’t want to write it but I thought, particularly after Saturday night that I probably would. I don’t always like being right.

The more I thought about it the more I realised that whilst that was a good topic to write about it wouldn’t really cut the mustard this week. There are other, bigger things to talk about. At the same time I don’t want this to seem like a knee-jerk reaction because it isn’t. If I write what I think I’m going to write (it doesn’t always work that way) the thoughts below have been running around in my head for a long time.

OK, I’ve spent a lot of times so far talking about what this article isn’t so I’d better start talking about what the article is or, even better, get to the point. When the final hooter went in the Skydome last night I just stood there. Normally in situations like that I’m one of the first out of the door. I’m not really sure why I stayed (apart from the fact that the person giving me a lift home didn’t leave either). I wasn’t in a state of shock or anguish. I’d seen this coming weeks ago – we’ve had problems scoring all season so why should we find the magic touch now? I didn’t feel angry, I still don’t and I think that’s as much about us getting what we deserved as about how I feel about the Nottingham Panthers these days.

And that’s what worries me most. I wouldn’t say I don’t care about the Panthers not being at the playoffs next weekend but I’m nowhere near throwing myself of Victoria Centre flats either. I’m also feeling a heck of a lot better about it than I did this time last year. Maybe that’s the key, we’ve been here before. I can remember years without number where Panthers didn’t make the playoffs and I hated those, so I keep coming back to the question why do I feel differently now?
It could be age. Like most people I’m not getting any younger. I don’t get as excited as I used to. The older you get the more that the other things in your life temper the highs and lows you experience. You tend to shrug them off. You enjoy the highs because you remember the lows and during the lows you remember the highs and they keep you going. There’s also the argument that the lows are worse because you’ve experienced the highs but I don’t really buy that.

I don’t buy the idea that it’s my age that’s making me feel like this. So what is it? I have to wonder if the blame lies with the team (you all knew I was going to say that didn’t you). I’ve got no say in things like tactics and recruitment and nor should I, those are down to the coach who knows far more about such things than me. I don’t think I’ve ever felt a real connection with this team. There have been individuals who have stood out but not the team. This is something that I did feel last season as well. I never felt like they were my team either and I can’t think of another season when I’ve felt that way, even back in the dim dark days of the 1990s.

I don’t think it’s fair for me to lay all the blame (or maybe even any of it) on the players and the coaching staff. I think it’s more than the team, it’s the club as well. As fans we want honesty from our players, we want to see effort and heart in a performance. If we lose but we’ve given everything then we don’t feel so bad, we don’t enjoy it but we can forgive the result because the effort was there. I think the same goes for the club as a whole. I don’t want to see comments about struggling to create chemistry or bad luck. I want to see someone, once, just once hold their hands up and say sorry, that was my fault. I’m no Liverpool fan but when Steven Gerrard came out and did just that after his recent red card he went up in my estimation.

It’s now Monday afternoon & all we’ve had so far is a bare bones description of the game in Coventry & some fairly anodyne post-game reaction. The number of articles about the game is exactly equal to the number advertising the awards ceremony & another set of shirts to buy. It’s all about priorities and the Panthers have got them wrong. What happens on the ice should be the central focus and everything else is gravy or the icing on the cake (depending on your choice of metaphor). I don’t care about shirt sales or award ceremonies I can’t attend, I care about a team that wants to go out and win every game and a club that wants to match that ethos. And therein lies the problem for me, to want to make a change you’ve got to acknowledge that something is going wrong, but if ticket sales are on the up and they can sell shirts for whatever price they want and that’s all you’re focussing on you don’t need to change do you?

In the meantime Coventry are at the Play-off Weekend and fair play to them. They were a team and they played like it. They came out with the grit, determination and a will to win. Look where it got them.

I won’t be on loan to them next week though!

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5 Responses to “Why Don’t I Care?”


  1. 1 Gill Short March 30, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    I stopped going to games a while ago. It costs roughly £50 for my evening out. I too have felt no connection with this team. First time ever. I have not missed the Hockey and will not have a season ticket next year. So very dad. But I don’t think the club gives damn

  2. 2 MArk March 30, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    Excellent article and echo’s what a large number of supporters are thinking

  3. 3 Michael Chambers March 30, 2015 at 7:32 pm

    Always enjoyed the ‘reads’ even if I can not agree. But I do here.It’s being debated on forums and spoken of in talks around the rink but who will care.Someone will, but only when the crowds lessen and the money does not roll in so fast.

  4. 4 Paul Ashmore March 30, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    I’m glad it’s not just me that feels this way. I’ve been a regular for over 20 years and something has gone really wrong with the club in the last few years, despite the successes of two years ago. The intensity of derby games is sadly missing and for me, very few games leave me buzzing any more. Why? Even I’m not sure. The recent trend to try and take away the physical side of the game hasn’t helped for me and ironically , more players appear to be getting career threatening injuries now enforcers are frowned upon. When I started watching hockey, the game was far more physical and fights were frequent, but serious injuries were rare, but the players ” code of conduct” ruled, not DOPS!! Maybe the problem is the way the game is being presented these days? At the old barn, we relied a little on Eric’s ability to play the right tune at the right time and mostly on our crowd to lift the atmosphere , always pushed along with our team busting a gut to please us…..not a microphone treating everyone like a 3 year old….what to chant, when to… Clap for this, wave for that…..Claptrap! Actually, I have realised what’s wrong, the beautiful game has become a product, a business model, very successful ( Mr Black) but BORING!!
    Bring back the intensity,the atmosphere, a team that wants to wear a Panthers jersey….win or lose…I was proud to be a Panthers fan!
    Maybe that’s why you aren’t bothered about not being at the playoffs….because I’m not convinced the Panthers are.

  5. 5 Mark Atkin March 30, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    The above comment and the article have nailed the issue perfectly.


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