Dear Fellow Penguins Fans,
So after much deliberation on the debacle that has been this first round series, I figured I would post up a letter to my fellow Penguins fans. This decision was made MUCH easier after seeing the litany of posts regarding game three. Perhaps some of what I have seen and done can offer a unique perspective to those wit the /wrist posts as well as the /hair_here_make_me_sick_blah_puke posts.
I like you have been surprised at the teams poor performance thus far. I like you feel that there hasn't been a single game in this series that Pittsburgh has deserved to win. I like you was thoroughly surprised at the twilight zone that was a PENGUINS team gooning it up, rather then a Flyers team. I unlike many of you however have come to a realization of the past five or so years. We the fan care far more about the conduct of our athletes then the organizations that they work for. While there is no denying that the player cares far more for the team and individual awards then we ever could, the term "professional" simply means getting paid to go to work, and do your job well. I personally think the golden age of the professional athlete died with Joe DiMaggio, but that's neither here nor there.
On this note, it is clear that the standards we hold our athletes to are not those that they hold themselves to. That is neither a good thing or a bad thing, it just is a thing to consider. It is beyond easy to sit behind our TV screens and monitors picking apart each play. "This players isn't working hard", "that player has no heart", and the tried and true "the coach is to blame" mantras have been echoed since the playoffs started. What has not been echoed is that this iteration of penguins hockey has shown us that while the Penguins have stayed steady since their last cup, certain other teams have gotten better. That's not a reflection on the goalie, the leadership in the locker room, or on management. We can all agree that Shero is a great GM and that Bylsma is a darn good coach. We have seen the leadership qualities of Geno, Sid, and to some extent Orpik, Letang, and Fluery. The simple fact is that the Flyers have outplayed the Penguins in every aspect of the game for the entire series. They are hot, we are not. We haven't been since that 10 or 12 game run was broken just before the end of the season.
So with game four right around the corner this team is searching for answers it hasn't found, and by all indications they may not find at all this playoffs. That's not a jumping off the cliff statement, its just a simple fact. But on that note some of the recent fanposts makes me realize that some folks take being fanatical to a whole new level of....fanaticism. I don't remember long ago when this team was simply struggling to make the playoffs, let alone be one of the perennial best teams in the east. Living through your selected teams is not only unhealthy but unwise. Sports like that hot chick from high school or college will break your heart with out even thinking twice about it. Getting frustrated and lashing out at everyone within keyboard range will not only hinder social skill development but it can also cause you to grow hair in unsightly places. Folks, nine years ago I was watching MWR broadcasts from a tent on the Iraq-Kuwait boarder. one short month from now will mark the eight years since I started seeing friends from old units and colleges shipped home in boxes. One week from now will mark 5 months since my father was diagnosed with stage IVb colon cancer, the same guy is recovering splendidly from surgery to remove the cancer from his liver, stomach, colon, and some other weird organ with a weird name.
There are far more important things to worry about then how a selected team performs, or for that matter a selected player. You can be a fan with out being a fanatic. Trolling comments, trolling posts, writing letters on a BLOG to Penguins management (which probably rarely views them anyway), and talking about how a certain player or the teams poor performance made you vomit shows that you don't get IT.