Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Empty Nest Syndrome

Events pretty quickly overtook my last post on the Thrashers; by the morning after I wrote it, my semi-optimism was looking more and more like whistling past the graveyard. Rumors had solidified enough that Atlanta journalists were reporting on the growing possibility of a move. It's been up and down since -- negotiations with True North confirmed, the emergence of an interested party seeking to keep the team in Atlanta, the revelation that said interested party is kind of a disaster. That's ... mostly down. Simple contempt has kept me from checking TSN's "Jets Meter" lately but I imagine it isn't pretty.

It's a strange feeling. I'm trying to remain somewhat objective about it all. If it happens it happens -- my life goes forward regardless. If the Thrashers leave, I don't start fashioning a noose. I'll fill my time other ways. At the same time, I'm attached to the team. Since the lockout they've gone from a way to give me a hockey fix to a "Team 1A" along the Avalanche. And there's a feeling that they've been poorly served. The Atlanta sports market is a fickle one, and the Thrashers have played ignored little brother to the Hawks (who in turn are the ignored little brother to the Braves and Falcons). They've suffered from abhorrent ownership -- one of the greatest tragedies of the space shuttle program's end is that we'll never see the Atlanta Spirit executives crammed into Endeavour and aimed at Neptune.

The whole recent experience has been dispiriting. The Thrashers don't seem to attract much sympathy -- aside from Craig Custance, no national/continental hockey writers have really acknowledged that there actually are people here affected by this. There are good fans here (better than me); I know people who live and die by this team. But it's easier to cheerlead and treat a Winnipeg move as a historic wrong being righted if you ignore the existing fans in Atlanta. People in the hockey world haven't done themselves proud these past few weeks.

At the same time -- and here's where that attempted objectivity comes in -- I've been on the other side of this. The Avalanche didn't spring fully-formed from Zeus's brow. I felt bad about the bereft hockey fans of Quebec City, and I'm pretty sure that had Twitter existed in 1995, I wouldn't have been campaigning for another city's team to move to Denver. At the same time, once the season started, the sympathy pretty rapidly turned to an overwhelming sense of "fuck yeah," and I doubt that when Colorado won the Cup I spent a ton of time thinking about the Quebecers.

So what would happen if the Thrashers move to Winnipeg? My emotions wouldn't follow them there -- I have no ties to the Peg other than being glad I don't live there. I'd wish Pavelec, Byfuglien, Ladd etc well until they became UFAs and moved on. The Avalanche would get some of my attention back. I'd go to a few more Gladiators games a year, though I'm realistic about how often I'd be willing to make the trek from my snug in-city home to Gwinnett (not very). International hockey would theoretically get more interest, as would soccer. I'd devote more time to non-sports projects.

But I'd rather it didn't come to that. After more than a decade here, I feel (and it was a surprise when I realized this) some Atlanta pride. I think Atlanta and the Thrashers could be good for each other, given an opportunity. I'm holding out hope that opportunity becomes reality.

* * *

#13 -- "Behindlings" by Nicola Barker

One of the joys of being an avid reader is discovering a new vein, finding a fantastic author that wasn't on your radar before. When I read "Darkmans" last year I had a vague idea that Barker was just discovering her talent. Not so, friend, not so. The earlier "Behindlings" is almost as daring and just as brilliant, and I'm officially buying in to anything she does in the future. Strange and difficult book, but also rewarding and haunting. It's not easy but it's very worthwhile.


Tapeleg said...

For the price of a few games, you can now get the NHL Center Ice package. Winner winner, chicken dinner.

gsdgsd13 said...

Don't think I'll be too keen to give the NHL any money -- this has all been pretty gross. I'll hold out for the ECHL or Extraliga package.