It Should All Be Fun & Games

Social media and this years playoffs have slightly diminished my passion for the great sport of hockey. The internet has become a virtual playground for cyber bullies. What used to be good natured ribbing between rival fans has turned into offensive words and, at times, threats.

I understand these people would most likely never follow through on such threats but the negativity is everywhere and I do not like to read such hatred. I try to be a positive person. Even though nothing has been personally directed at me, it is difficult to read such hate and it is almost impossible to avoid it unless you stay off social media.

What happens when one of those cyber bullies takes his or her threats to the game? Innocent people can be hurt. Why is there so much outrage when a child is bullied online but we all stand by as fellow “fans” put down, threaten, abuse and mistreat other fans? Why is this ok?

There is plenty of research about bullying in the workplace. It causes undue stress, medical problems and lead to violence, by the bully or the bullied. I wrote a research paper on workplace bullying for my masters program; these issues are real. I can only imagine the results would be similar amongst sports fans.

I have seen tweets, comments etc and it makes me feel ashamed to be a fan of the NHL. I am reaching the point I no longer enjoy watching. I’d rather watch other levels of the sport than the NHL but then you hear stories of parents bullying coaches or children. It is all just deplorable.

The anonymity of the internet makes people think it is ok to act like this. Yet when they go out in public they never utter a word to the opposing fans. Why is this? Because they know their actions are wrong. They feel they are getting away with something online and no one is hurt by it.

This years playoffs have become about attacking fans of other teams, not jokes about the team, the on ice play. Even when a joke is made about a team, the response is an insult to the fan, some kind of personal attack.

On twitter I have seen people retweet personal attacks. I have gotten so tired of seeing retweets of “fans” calling rival fans fags and cunts and various other insulting, hurtful words. I know some people find these attacks funny, that the person can’t think of anything better to say then insult someone else.

I have seen a Coyotes blogger received threats by email. Someone in Quebec threatened to come to the first game of round one and beat him up. He didn’t say it in quite as eloquent of terms though. There were many other insults and threats added in. A broadcaster has received threats after saying a hit was clean right after it happened, even though a few minutes later he retracted when he was able to see a replay. This is getting ridiculous. This is taking a game too far.

This time of year should be fun for fans. Our teams are battling for the Stanley Cup. The greatest trophy in sports. We should be focused on supporting them not afraid we may receive a threat or a tweet about what fucking cunts we are or how only fucking fags would cheer for that team or other such demeaning slurs. On top of this bullying, as a Coyotes fan we are still dealing with those who think we know nothing about hockey, we don’t deserve a team, and the Coyotes should be moved to Canada immediately. After three years or so, it becomes tiresome. 

I’d like to say, grow up. Don’t post anything on line you wouldn’t say to someones face. Stick to the team if you feel the urge to participate in some good, old fashioned ribbing. Tell me the Coyotes and Predators are going to be boring, low scoring games. Tell me Yandle or DMo will assist on the other teams goals. Find something about the play on ice to joke about. Do not insult me as a fan. I may have been an NHL fan longer thatn you realize, longer than the Coyotes have been in Phoenix. You do not know me, I don’t know you. Let’s leave it on the ice for round two.

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