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Member Since 27 Apr 2007
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#1965324 Why do other NHL teams' fans hate the Wings?

Posted by Grypho on 29 April 2010 - 05:06 AM

OK, let me take a serious crack at it. I'll do it by way of an unnecessarily long screed because typing is cheap and I can type fast, and by comparison, because I don't think it's as simple as jealousy (although that's a factor with some for sure). I won five poker tournaments in a row in Wuxi, China, and you could cut the air of resentment with a knife it was so thick! So past success and a childish sense of "hey, no fair you win so much!" is a valid complaint (worthy of dismissal).

But there can be more to it than that. Let's compare the Wings (and the other teams) with America (and the other countries).

Living in China, I constantly deal with the question about why some of my fellow foreigners, mostly Europeans, have such a low generalized opinion of Americans (not America the government, which is a separate issue, but Americans, and their attitudes and culture in general). Is that because they are "just jealous"? Hardly. I wouldn't be so daft as to think that. I know that I'm also dealing with prejudices, and stereotypes, most of which wouldn't exist for any country/nationality/whatever without some thread of reality, however distorted or magnified, to go on. Also, I don't take any prejudices personally, and I am more than aware that the perception dynamic changes completely whenever things are one-on-one.

Even so, one undesirable mark of a stereotypical American is rooted in positive self-perceptions that-are-by-comparison-or-at-the-expense-of-others.

1) Spouting "We're number one!" - or some other mantra that suggests the same thing. (we did invent foam fingers, among other things)
2) A general belief (by some individuals) that we really are number one, in everything, even if we aren't.
3) Isolation and Centrism - little knowledge or genuine interest in what others are all about, or have to offer. Little "other" awareness.
4) Laurels, and the resting thereupon - "We invented democracy."..."If it wasn't for us, you'd be speaking German/Japanese."..."Everything good that happens in the world is because of us."

I could make a long laundry list, but I won't. I can't stand blind America bashing, from within or without, any more than I can stand blind self-promotion. It all looks silly to me. Furthermore, it doesn't matter whether anyone is right or wrong about their perceptions, because we are talking about PERCEPTIONS - self and other - which are too often highly subjective.

So what about the Wings? Let's start with the fact that Detroit affectionately refers to itself as "Hockeytown". I personally like that. When I hear that I take it positively, as it just means that the sport enjoys broad, passionate community spirit and support in Detroit. From my experience, I LOVE sitting and watching a hockey game with a Wings fan, because THEY...LOVE...THE SPORT, generally speaking, of course. Likewise, sitting at a baseball game with my Cubs fan friends, and a hot dog, a beer and pretzel in hand, is a treat and a half for me. Feels like Americana to me. I can eat the atmosphere with a fork and spoon, it's so good.

Incidentally, why do you think I haunt the LGW site? Same reason, MATT...LOVES...HOCKEY. And he draws in kindred fans by the THOUSANDS. Who wouldn't want to be part of that? I would, enough to be a supporter even.

Now despite the Hockeytown nickname, which is loaded with implications that can be taken negatively, the reality is that hockey in Detroit (just like every major city that has more than one pro team) takes a firm back seat to other sports, like football, baseball, and basketball. Hockey is not the number one sport in "Hockeytown". The best you might do is compare it to "per capita support/spirit" -- in which case every Canadian hockey town might step in to rival Detroit with some very real claims of their own. And I'm sure New York, which has two hockey teams, might have some claims of its own to make as well.

But what about the past wins, past Cups, being part of the Original Six, the dynastic history, especially with the Bowman/Yserman/et al years? You all really do have a city that can stand proud, right?

Sure. But sometimes pride, over what you think might set you apart in a good way, can EASILY be delivered in an in-your-face elitist way that is not just fallacious, but can win you some richly deserved enemies and repels good people.

For example, hailing from San Jose, I've always been dismissive of any fan that makes a comment about hockey teams in places "where it doesn't even snow" -- as if that somehow makes a team any less worthy. But that is akin to the kind of attitude that some are treated to by some Original Six team fans. There's always the "eww, you're a newbie" kind of nonsense (and it is childish nonsense) that comes with any self-assessment, anything that might set you, or yours, "apart from the rest". Do any of you see hockey as a "Canadian Sport"? Well, originally, even before the Original Six, it was. But Detroit was right there in its infancy. Doesn't that make it at least part American? Ask the average Canadian hockey fan, and see what they say. And then ask yourself if the question even matters to anyone except the one taking exception. Because to me it doesn't. I don't have a problem with a Jamaican Bobsled Team. The more the merrier, especially in a sport that needs all the support it can get.

BUT...just as Europeans sometimes point to their older cultures as a point of implied superiority over, say, North and South Americans, Australians, etc., it is not uncommon to hear hockey fans from Canadian and Original Six teams especially, who will allude to a sense of superiority of their own on a similar (and equally fallacious) basis. Big deal. It's silly, but it's also human nature. Old rich snubs its nose at new rich. Freshmen are hazed by Juniors and Seniors. Newbies in many internet forums are often treated to house/bridge trolls that lie in wait to put the newbie in their places.

The Yankees, like the Red Wings, are often hated for what is seen (especially in the past, when there was far more truth to it), as The Team That Can Best Afford To Buy A Pennant/Cup. Follow the money, and it really is/was, to many, no longer about who is the most talented, but rather who could afford to stack the field deck with the best/most expensive talent. At that point, the reasoning goes, why not cut out the middle man (the sport itself) and cut to the core question that is being determined, which is which city (or owner) has the most money?

Fast forward to today, and there are many who see the past accomplishments as bought-and-paid-for-deck-stackings. Which is to say, no respect for the past laurels upon which some might want to rest.

The Hockeytown/Big Dynasty syndrome, if taken (or dished out) negatively, can sound presumptuous -- like there's a feeling of entitlement, or "more-worthiness" that goes along with it. For example, I remember well when the Sharks eliminated Detroit in '94. That didn't just upset Detroit. It seemed to upset the entire hockey world. Young upstarts, and who the hell are they to fluke their way past mighty and far more proven Detroit? NHL.com covered it...then stopped covering the Sharks pretty much altogether. Very, very strange, but its just a small portion of what happens even today with Eastern Conference coverage versus Western Conference. East is elite, older, more established, while the West is rough, and new (pronounced n-ewwwww). And poor not-so-western-after-all Detroit and Chicago (once the upstart) ended up divided from the East and thrown in with the newbie western upstarts.

What does that have to do with some people hating the Red Wings? I don't know, I was rambling and got lost along the way.


#1965204 Why do other NHL teams' fans hate the Wings?

Posted by Grypho on 29 April 2010 - 12:44 AM

It's the color. Every time I see the Wings, I just see red. :ranting:

No, I don't hate the Wings. I hate the Stars. With a passion. But that's only because they are notorious (first hand experience here) for treating opposing teams' fans like absolute crap -- like, threateningly. Hockeytown fans aren't like that at all.

#1965162 2010 Round 2 Photoshop War: San Jose Sharks

Posted by Grypho on 28 April 2010 - 11:31 PM

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