You don’t know me, not personally, but I am a fan. Yes, still.
I just wanted you to know that we, the collective “we”, do not hate you. Contrary to popular belief, and the overwhelming impression given on twitter, you do indeed have fans left. We’re just a little quieter than the rowdies who love to hear the sound of their own voices and spout their coaching prowess and high school football stats online. Because much like your team, your players, coaches and management, we’re tired of being crapped on for showing support to a struggling team, for staying positive and refusing to bash them. Please do not take that for naiveté or ignorance though. We KNOW there is work to be done. Oh lordy, is there work to be done. But we the few, are the firm believers that feel there are enough “fans” hollering the negative that perhaps, just maybe, the team could use a little positivity.
We’re the ones who quietly but proudly still don our Bomber gear at work on Casual Fridays. We’re the ones with the Alex Suber screen savers, the BB pinnies up on the wall of our offices, the Bomber logo on our phones. We’re the ones NOT regretting our Bomber licence plates or season tickets. We’re the ones filling the stands with hope and staying till the time runs out, win or lose. We’re still here. Answering “The Bombers, who else?” when questioned on who we will cheer for this week.
I am a fan of the New Orleans Saints also. So as you can imagine, last year was a tough one to be a sports fan. I know loss, in the fans sense of the word. I know you can’t win everything all the time. I know you don’t always have a good game, a good season, even a mediocre season. I also know you can come back from shitty times. I know great things can be born out of low moments. You’re on the right track, fellas. Its a slow process, its a rebuild from the ground up. I can see the movements, the changes, the position switches, the new kids in town. You’re on the right track. We’ve derailed enough, lets stay on that track.
I was walking in Safeway a few weeks ago and a stranger, a total stranger, said to me “Wow, you’re pretty brave to be wearing that sweatshirt”. I had to stop for a second and think, hey, was I secretly transported to Regina? DUDE. I’m in Winnipeg. This is our team. What the hell are you talking about? I replied with, “They’re our boys, you have to support our boys”. He muttered an “I suppose” and walked away. Really? In our OWN CITY?
At work I am known as the face of optimism when it comes to Bomber pride. People think I’m crazy. I’ve been called delusional. I’ve been admired for my dedication. I’ve been questioned on how much I actually could possibly know about the team to still be so positive and hopeful. And I surprise just about all but the lowest of naysayers. Because I know the game. Though they generally go away when I say “They are our home team. Who the hell else are you going to cheer for??”. I have one co-worker who will come up to me before each game and request the usual. “Tell me something positive going in, Char.” So I do. I always have something. Some stat, some new player, some kid off of the injury list ready to ball again. He walks away satisfied, perhaps not anymore hopeful but a little less negative.
So there you go, Bombers. We’re still out there. We see Ford ready to plow through men twice his size. We see Max Hall and his potential (because yes, he has potential). We see Alex Hall and Bryant Turner ready and dying to keep us at the top of the Sack Leader list. We see Suber and Johnson and Washington flying, grabbing, switching roles and making plays. We see Markett, the newbie, making ground, making a place for himself. We see our two new big men, Knapp and Jones, in town for four days, expected to know the playbook and somehow managing to give Hall a little more time to make those passes that seemed to just find their rightful owners more often than not. And speaking of rightful owners, can we just talk about Kelly for a minute? Sky High Kelly, grabbing shit out of nowhere. We see our star, our fave, our veteran who doesn’t want to be anywhere but Winnipeg, Edwards, throwing his body around to catch whatever comes in his general direction. My word that man. Please lets just keep that man.
We see this and more. We get bummed when a loss comes our way, just like the negative nellies out there. But we know. We know you’re trying. We know you’re making decisions that you think, in the heat of the moment, are the right ones. We’ve all been there. And yes, it sucks knowing you have lost again. But we’re still here and we’re staying. We see the moves being made behind the scenes. The releases. The acquiring of new talent. Boltus, Brown, Kelly, Sims Walker, Knapp, Jones, and the mighty Bellefeuille who, while the losses have still come, seems to be able to make things happen every now and then. We see the potential now. And for those of us with common sense and patience, we see what this might bring us next year. That’s right. Next year. Not this week. Not right now. Next year people.
So now, when you’re on Twitter or reading those god awful comments on the online newspaper stories, remember this. Not everyone thinks you need to fire every coach and coordinator under the sun. Not everyone thinks the stadium was a waste of money. Not everyone wants to run you all out of town with pitchforks and burning sticks. Just the loud ones do. Us quiet ones? Well, you’ll hear us. At every game. Raising the decibel levels. Because where we are quietly supportive behind a screen, we are loud and mighty at the very moment when you need us to be.
Thanks guys, we got your back.