Panthers fan Steven Warren writes for The Cat’s Whiskers about how his relationship with the club and the game have changed over the years he’s been supporting the team.
What is love? By that I mean what is sporting love? Whilst you can’t compare it to the real thing you can draw significant comparisons. When did something I enjoyed doing years ago suddenly become so important and meaningful above anything else? When and how did it happen? What made me become so attached to this sports club?
We will all have different answers to this question, the same thing can be said when we fall out of love also. The same doubts and questions arise, what has made me feel different now? Don’t worry, this is not about to become a “Dear Deidre” column, but after supporting a club I’ve loved since the turn of the century why do I find myself wondering why do I feel differently about my team?
What has changed? Do I still “love” the Panthers? Yes of course I do. Do I still feel the same about the club I supported 18 years ago? No I don’t.
I love my team because it’s my beloved Panthers I’ve been on that roller coaster of excitement, disappointment, exhilaration, success, failure and all those other emotions like all other fans of clubs around the world. So 18 years have passed and myself and the club have moved on. I have changed and the club have changed, everything has changed. Or has it?
Obviously the players have been and gone and we have seen some amazing (and not so amazing) players in that time, the management hasn’t changed although attendances have risen, silverware has been won and records both nationally internationally have been broken. But things are different now. Why? Do I expect too much? Probably yes, but doesn’t every fan, player, coach, manager and owner
So what happens now? Do I carry on like this, does the club? And what will happen? When myself and friends now pick and choose home games due to spiralling ticket prices and extortionate arena prices will attendances continue to rise? Are we paying for better players and four great lines or just filling the pockets of those who run the club?
I am now at a crossroads as the development of the British league continues at a pace. Do I put my hard earned cash into the club hoping that the CLUB will grow? Will foundations be built to secure the development of youngsters to help the club and the national team in the long run whilst providing financial support to the Panthers to improve season upon season? Or will I become a “cash cow” what happens to my money? What happens to my support (and others) will our game flourish? Will I be in or out of love of my team and the sport?
I do not have a crystal ball but I hope that those in the sport do the right thing by the game in general, there are others wanting and waiting to help Elite League Ice Hockey and the EIHL board are fool to think that their added input into the league will not be of great benefit. I look forward in both anticipation and fear for the future of our game.
We’d like to thank Steven for sending his article to us. If you would like to write a hockey related article for The Cat’s Whiskers, please send it via email to firstname.lastname@example.org for consideration.