SECOND: BUCKEYE FANS ARE NOT THE ENEMY: When Sami Lepisto came to us in the late season trade, he introduced himself to the fan base with some tweets that included references to Ohio State and O-H. This resulted in him getting quite a few commands to understand the difference. First, other than this being perhaps not the best way to welcome a new Blue Jacket to the community, I honestly don’t understand why people demand the separation. By sheer numbers, we Ohioans didn’t even have local exposure to hockey for a lot longer than hockey has been here. Call us stupid, but many people “don’t get it” because we never had it to understand and appreciate for a while. Second, honestly, I don’t see a lot of mocking or derisive talk coming from Buckeye Nation towards the Blue Jackets, explain that away as you will but these aren’t people who are flat out refusing to support a hockey team, they just aren’t grown that way ’round these parts. I want this to change but its going to take some time.
THIRD. BUCKEYE FANS MAY ACTUALLY HELP. If the football program is about to go down in flames (depending on who you listen to) wouldn’t now be a good time to direct their passions somewhere else? To help fill the that growing number of empty seats at Nationwide Arena perhaps? Buckeyes are notorious for their rabid devotion…if you’ve got someone who already has these traits and they can transfer them to hockey is that wrong? Too often these year we’ve all talked about how Nationwide is too quiet. And there are a LOT of Buckeyes…the Alumni association is what, like the 3rd largest or something? The more of those we can get to accept CBJ as an Ohio team too the more our team identity stays with those who leave Ohio and grows with those who stay post-college. And lets face it, right now, a CBJ ticket is a lot easier to come by than an OSU one…
FOURTH: FOOTBALL IS NOT HOCKEY. I’ve already disclosed that I’m a football, and Buckeye fan since I could talk. But I will be honest, and say, that even when I lived in DC with the rabid Caps following and nary a football team to speak of (no, the Redskins are such a joke don’t even use them as an example ;) ), it took quite some time for me to come to understand and appreciate hockey. So all those obnoxious Buckeyes who “don’t give a damn” about the Blue Jackets, may just not be smart enough to understand the game in the first place. Why not invite one of them to come to a game? Show them what its all about. Transitioning one’s passion from a stop-start game like football to something a lot more fluid and tactical such as hockey can take some time.
FINALLY: WHY WASTE THE ENERGY: Overall, if you’re even still reading this and haven’t discounted me as a Buckeye apologist, I don’t understand why we even care. the Jerk Ohio State fans are gonna be jerks whether we do anything or not. Wasting our energy intentionally distancing ourselves from them or bad mouthing them is only gonna to alienate people who may simply be indifferent. I really really don’t like basketball or baseball, but I don’t hate on people who love the Clippers and hey, when they won the whole thing last year, I say “good on them”. I say spend your time and mental energy on the things you like, rather than dragging down the things you don’t. If someone shows up at Nationwide in a Buckeye shirt, unless you’re 100% sure that they dislike the Blue Jackets and they can afford – and refused to buy – CBJ gear, don’t hate on ‘em. Now don’t get me wrong, feel FREE to point out the Blue Line and encourage them to wear the proper colors, but it may just be their first game…welcome them in to the fold and show them why, in many ways, particularly in this coming year of lockouts, NCAA sanctions, strikes and ego-maniacal all stars in other sports, Hockey might just be the way to go!