Nearly 10 years ago the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim made their first appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Their defeat of the Phoenix Coyotes undoubtedly renewed Southern California’s faith in the NHL.
However, any dreams of the Stanley Cup were shattered by the series against the Detroit Red Wings and, as a result, the Ducks were forgotten as fast as the Rally Monkey after the Angels’ championship season.
But looking back at the ’97 season, one player stands out: Teemu Selanne. At that time, Selanne was one of the leading players not only for the Ducks, but in the NHL as well. Regardless of his efforts in aiding his team, they fell short, and the championship name as portrayed in the Disney movies was forgotten for years. Now, nearly 10 years and a surgery later, he has returned to finish the job and lead the Ducks to the playoffs.
Not only has Selanne returned to Anaheim, but he’s also regained his position as alternate captain while leading the team in points, goals and power play goals. His efforts have pushed the team into fifth in the Western Conference with 94 points.
But regardless of his individual accomplishments, the Ducks would not be where they are without the combined efforts of every player, ranging from alternate captain Rob Niedermayer to goaltender Jean- Sebastien Giguere.
Just look at defenseman Scott Niedermayer, for example. Niedermayer leads them in assists with 48. Center Samuel Pahlsson cannot be overlooked, either, with his 21 points and leading position in shorthanded goals. Together the team has pushed forward and maintained their rank.
Now that the Ducks are finding themselves back in the headlines of the sports world I find myself once again rambling on and on about them, which I’ve actually come to have a problem with. I will not try to hide the fact that I haven’t completely dedicated myself to hockey for a couple of years now, despite my promotion of Selanne and the Ducks. Some of this is due to that dreadful lockout from last year while some of it is caused by a lack of time and interest. You would be amazed to see how shocked I was when I clicked my way onto Yahoo! Sports a few weeks ago and realized how well my team was doing.
However, I’m afraid that this sudden renewed faith in my favorite Southern Californian team makes me guilty of something that I’ve argued against time and time again: bandwagoning. Sure, suddenly I’m interested in hockey again and I feel like grabbing a stick and taking a few slap shots, but what if my team suddenly starts losing? Will I abruptly lose interest in the Ducks and instead settle for a more stable activity that won’t wreak havoc on my emotions? Actually, no. I will most likely stick with it until the end of the season and then slowly direct my attention toward other things until hockey becomes just a distant memory.
Luckily, I haven’t completely converted to the practice of bandwagoning yet and there is still hope for me. But at the same time I must state that it is not right of me to support a team simply because they are winning. In fact, I don’t think any team supporter should do that. Just take a look at sports at UCI as an example. Sure, we want all of our teams to win; in fact, sometimes we might even believe we have the right to demand that they win. But are our demands really justified? Do we really have the right to pressure our athletes to dominate in their respective sports when the majority of students do not show half of the interest that they do? The obvious answer is no, but it still keeps happening.
I can use the recent Men’s Tennis game I went to as an example. I spent about three hours at the game and the majority of people in the stands were members from each team who weren’t competing. Besides them, I counted four other photographers, some friends and family whom I assumed are from both teams, UCI athletics department employees and some random observers. However, the majority of the stands were empty and our team wasn’t receiving the support they deserve for the type of game they played.
We won that match but no one will hear about it. It won’t be running off the lips of students as they walk past each other on Ring Road. Now, it’s OK to not have an interest in sports, either professional or collegiate, but to hear so many students make claims about how horrible our teams are when no one really seems to support them in the first place just seems unjust.
I’m guilty of this, too, at least in reference to my opinion of the Ducks. However, I think it’s time that the portion of this campus that actually follows sports makes a resolution to not only support your team because they have the potential to win, but because they are your team and you should have pride in them. Who knows? That encouragement might be just what they need to bring home the championship.
Filed Under: Sports