Confessions of a fair-weather fan

OPINION

  • Fans cheer the Blackhawks during Saturday's Game 5 at the United Center.
Fans cheer the Blackhawks during Saturday's Game 5 at the United Center. (Brian Cassella/Chicago…)
June 09, 2013|By Stephen Markley, @stephenmarkley | For RedEye

The Blackhawks have taught me the joy of being a fair-weather fan. Like most sports fans, I used to view the fair-weather fan with derision: a scum-sucking bottom feeder who sits out the bad times and wanders in for the victory party.

Yet watching the Blackhawks make their run this season, I've come to understand that being a fair-weather fan—who barely knows what's going on, who doesn't actually care about the outcome of any game—is awesome.

Admittedly, I don't care for hockey. It's the sport of inbred Canadian tar sands miners. Because I'm a white guy so white I almost come back around the event horizon of the racial universe to being a black woman, I like basketball. It's a sport where more than five things happen in four hours.

Plus, in hockey there are two halftimes. (And don't give me that crap about how these are "intermissions." Every other team sport that requires the traversal of a plane of geographic space is divided into symmetrical units of time, and hockey's like the overgrown ape of a second-grader eating paste off his fingers who didn't get the message.)

As my buddy Justin pointed out, during these two halftimes there typically have been like three plays of note, so the guys with terrible haircuts sit around talking about those three plays, and meanwhile I've forgotten there's even a game on. I'm flirting with the Sedgwick's bartender or catching up on my Selena Gomez jams or seeing if we've got a decent Lena Dunham nude scene in "Girls" this week.

I'll also admit I can barely name three Blackhawks players. Hell, I met one of those Patrick guys (can't remember if it was Kane or Sharp) at some function a few years ago and had no idea who he was. I asked him what he did for a living. He told me he played hockey, and I was like, "OK, bro, good luck with that. By the way, Steve Markley here. 'Publish This Book.' Ever heard of it? Here's an autograph for your panty drawer."

But you know what? When the Hawks score, no one in the bar knows any of that. You just get to high-five and sing that "Chelsea Dagger" song. Who doesn't love getting free high-fives and drunkenly singing a victory song with exactly one lyric composed of one word?

And on the flipside if the Hawks lose? That's where being a fair-weather fan is even better, because I. Don't. Care. At. All. Doesn't matter whatsoever.

When my Cavaliers were losing consecutive heartbreaking playoff series during the LeBron James Cleveland era, I had ulcers and weird skin rashes and my teeth got loose in their sockets and I thought about dying all the time. When you're a fair-weather fan, after a loss you can just think of something awesome—like that it's been 13 years since I was a virgin or that Bob Dylan actually wrote the song "Wagon Wheel"—and it's better than a Blackhawks goal anyway.

So here's to the fair-weather fan because we got it made. Now, when does Cubs season start again?

Duh-da-da-duh-da-da-duh-da-da-da-da-da-da ...

RedEye special contributor Stephen Markley is the author of "The Great Dysmorphia" and "Publish This Book."

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