Friday, April 13, 2007

 

The Scarlet Letter

***Note*** This is an old post from my old site, and does not mean I'm coming out of retirement. I had hoped I could stay away from re-posting it, but all the Flames jerseys on the UofA campus the past couple of days, coupled with Matt taking out his Flames car flag after the team made the playoffs, pushed me over the edge. So here it is, slightly updated and modified. Watch yourselves out there. You've been warned (spits).



But the object that most drew my attention to the mysterious package was a certain affair of fine red cloth, much worn and faded, There were traces about it of gold embroidery, which, however, was greatly frayed and defaced, so that none, or very little, of the glitter was left. It had been wrought, as was easy to perceive, with wonderful skill of needlework; and the stitch (as I am assured by ladies conversant with such mysteries) gives evidence of a now forgotten art, not to be discovered even by the process of picking out the threads. This rag of scarlet cloth--for time, and wear, and a sacrilegious moth had reduced it to little other than a rag--on careful examination, assumed the shape of a letter.

It was the capital letter C. By an accurate measurement, each limb proved to be precisely three inches and a quarter in length. It had been intended, there could be no doubt, as an ornamental article of dress; but how it was to be worn, or what rank, honour, and dignity, in by-past times, were signified by it, was a riddle which (so evanescent are the fashions of the world in these particulars) I saw little hope of solving. And yet it strangely interested me. My eyes fastened themselves upon the old scarlet letter, and would not be turned aside. Certainly there was some deep meaning in it most worthy of interpretation, and which, as it were, streamed forth from the mystic symbol, subtly communicating itself to my sensibilities, but evading the analysis of my mind.

When thus perplexed--and cogitating, among other hypotheses, whether the letter might not have been one of those decorations which the white men used to contrive in order to take the eyes of Indians--I happened to place it on my breast. It seemed to me--the reader may smile, but must not doubt my word--it seemed to me, then, that I experienced a sensation not altogether physical, yet almost so, as of burning heat, and as if the letter were not of red cloth, but red-hot iron. I shuddered, and involuntarily let it fall upon the floor.
-Nathaniel Hawthorne




Thus endeth the prologue to our tale; it is therefrom that I must continue. Over the past four years, throughout the City of Champions, there has been a rapid increase in the amount of Calgary Flames paraphernalia worn by individuals, hung in home windows, and attached to the rear of automobiles. This alarming escalation has come with little resistance from the citizens of our fair city; in fact, many Edmontonians have become willing participants in this treacherous exercise. It is one thing when people outside of this province, including the national media, act as if Calgary is the second coming of Shangri-La. But it takes on a whole new level of shamefulness when Edmonton’s own sons and daughters forget their civic pride and responsibility and begin whoring themselves out to that Babylon in the south, rather than treating it with the scorn and hatred deserving of the enemy.

"the great whore that sitteth upon many oil fields: with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the province have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication." (Rev. 17:1-2)


Before I go any further, let me be clear in what I find so egregious:

1) The prominent display of Calgary Flames paraphernalia in the city of Edmonton, particularly the large quantity of Calgary Flames car flags on display;

2) So-called Edmonton Oilers fans who have switched their allegiances to the Flames because the Oilers did not make the playoffs.

Obviously, there are people young and old living in Edmonton who either grew up in Calgary, or in another city, town, village or farm in southern Alberta. In fact, there must be thousands of them, as Edmonton is currently (as it has been historically) the hub of Alberta’s cultural, educational, athletic and governmental scenes. Admittedly, those vigorously pursuing the base activity of commerce remain in Calgary, but those edified souls seeking virtue, wisdom and enlightenment long ago abandoned hope of receiving it in Cowtown, and made the short pilgrimage up Highway 2 to the Gateway to the North.

It should therefore come as no surprise to anyone that indeed there are fans of the Calgary Flames living in the City of Champions. It is a fair and reasonable consequence of such a diverse and cosmopolitan city. But some may further argue that these Flames fans should have the right to express their sports fanaticism in Edmonton's public square, and this is where I differ. Despite being an open-minded man living in a tolerant city, I must draw a line in the sand on this point. I want no part of the sudden and suspicious appearance of Flames fans when their team is finally doing well, and I will not accept the fact that their cheering should go unchallenged. I can probably count on one hand the number of Calgary Flames jerseys I saw in Edmonton from 1974-2003. As for flags on cars, I don’t remember seeing a single one. This not only indicates the intrinsic bandwagon nature of Flames fans (not surprising considering their biggest yearly event celebrates Stetsons, cattle and shit), but the sheer suppressive will that Edmontonians had over such expressions. What has become so irritating is that not only have the fair-weather Flames fans finally come out to play, but that we as Edmontonians, in a weakened state of depression, mercy and kindness, have ceded them the fucking field.

No truer manifestation of this exists than during the Flames aborted Stanley Cup run of 2003. The Oilers failed to make the playoffs that year (for only the sixth time in its twenty-five year history), while Calgary was making its first appearance after seven straight years of missing out. Riding on the back of goaltender Miikka Kiprusoff (the Flames had been an abysmal 29-36-13-4 in 2002, and weren’t doing much better until they traded for Kiprusoff and he rolled of a 24-10-4 run to end the 2003 season), the Flames went all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, eventually losing to the Tampa Bay Lightning in seven games. Along the way, out of some misplaced nationalism, many Oilers fans began cheering for the Flames because they were “the only Canadian team” still left in the playoffs. Signs and flags popped up everywhere, and even Edmonton’s sporting goods stores were selling out of Flames merchandise. Never mind that Tampa Bay actually had more Canadian players on their roster than the Flames did, that this type of jingoism paralleled the creation of the “Freedom Fry,” or that it was the hockey equivalent of Red Sox fans cheering for the Yankees, a sorrowfully large group of Edmontonians abandoned their integrity for the quick promise of Red Mile titties.

We are now in the Stanley Cup playoff run of 2006/2007. After going all the way to Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals in 05/06, the Oilers have failed to make the playoffs. Along the way, they blew a seemingly insurmountable lead in Game One, lost their Conn Smythe goalie for the remainder of the playoffs, lost a perennial Hart Trophy candidate for an undisclosed reason within days of losing Game Seven, lost their beloved tough guy to free agency, lost the heart and soul of the franchise due to failed contract negotiations, and lost over a trillion man-hours due to injury. All things considered, it's a miracle the city hasn't also been razed to the ground by some sort of Biblical plague. Calgary has made the playoffs, despite an abysmal road record and porous defence (see here and here). Again this spring, there is a large amount of visible Flames merchandise within the city of Edmonton. This agression will not stand, man. Edmontonians must stand up for their hockey team and their city, and force back the scavengers from the south. Do your part. For example, when you come across someone wearing Flames merchandise, see if you can determine a manufacturing date. You will assuredly see that the product was likely made, and therefore only purchased, in the past couple of years. In fact, the price tag will probably still be on the product, as the greedy and utilitarian minded Calgarian is planning on returning it once their team regresses to its historical mean. I suggest ripping it off, leaving them with no other choice but to keep the Marc Giordano jersey they purchased that afternoon.

As for the distasteful level of sports bigamy that occurred three years ago, it too must be thwarted. Already this year, I have had one individual—a so-called “lover” of the Oilers—tell me that they would be cheering for the Flames. I did not spit in her face, as I wanted to do, but I did call her out. I do not know how we can implement it, but I do have a solution to this problem. I would like to advocate the creation of a Sporting Inquisition, whose sole responsibility would be to weed out the sporting heretics in this city. While I would never recommend something so inhumane as the death penalty, I would suggest that those convicted by the Sporting Inquisition be publicly vilified and forced to wear a giant flaming “C” on their clothing, in recognition of the shame they have brought upon themselves and their city through their adultery. As for who shall be in control of the Sporting Inquisition, he who shall be named as Grand Inquisitor, I can only think of one man. A man whose loyalty to the Oilers and the City of Edmonton has never once been questioned. A man whose ethics, virtue and integrity are beyond reproach. Only one man can do this job, and his name is Colby Cosh. So it was written, so it shall be done.

“Long live the Oilers or go down with the Flames! Long live the Oilers or go down with the Flames! Long live the Oilers or go down with the Flames!”

Comments:

Come on Andy, you can do it. Stick around. At least for a week or two until Detroit advances.
 


Let's redirect that to a question, PPP. Do Leafs fans jump on the Sens bandwagon because they are a Canadian team, and vice-versa?
 


No truer manifestation of this exists than during the Flames aborted Stanley Cup run of 2003.

Uh, 2004, Andy. Mighty Ducks made their run in 2003.

--Fact-checker Sleek :)
 


Andy, what makes you think that Flames fans in Edmonton, aren't FROM Edmonton? You know Baskins and Robbins has 31 flavours for a reason. Bah on your tryanny of being forced to cheer for the home town laundry.
 


Hockey fans could really learn a thing or two from European football fans. You won't catch a Celtic fan wearing Rangers blue, unless they wanted to get the shit kicked out of them. Plus, the chants are awesome. Like to see that come to hockey:

"If I had the wings of a sparrow
If I had the arse of a crow
I'd fly over Calgary tomorrow
And shit on the bastards below."

"In your Calgary scrubs
You cheer for a club that no one can stand
Yer ugly fat bastards with shit on yer hands
In your Calgary scrubs."
 


I did not spit in her face, as I wanted to do...

And you call yourself an Oilers Fan! If there was ever a time for spitting in someone's face, that was it.

I agree wholeheartedly with you about the bigamy and that it is disgraceful. I must admit I strayed slightly in 2004. I started cheering for the Flames over the Canucks because the Flames had been irrelevant for so long I no longer considered them a threat to the Oiler's prominence as Alberta's, and perhaps Western Canada's favorite team. And so began three series of Flames fandom, before I came to my senses and cheered for Tampa Bay.

Now, the idea of cheering for the Flames fills me with such revulsion that I honestly don't know how people, can support that team. Especially people who claim to be Oilers fans.

Andy, just be comfortable in the knowledge that within the next week, the only people still wearing a red jersey will be the Detroit Red Wings.
 


This is exactly why I stopped being an Oilers fan a decade ago. Until I discovered this website, I thought I was the only one in the damn city who didn't buy into the whole Canada's-only-team-Gretzky-had-to-go-let's-give-management-blowjobs mentality.

Someone somewhere recently said Oiler fan's motto is now "die, upper management, die (german for "the, upper management, the"). That's been the case for close to two decades now.

btw, after last night's result, is Calgary's vaunted defense now unvaunted? Doesn't Iginla even vaunt to score anymore? Vill die coach of die flames begone after die playoffs? Holy shit, I can speak german too.
 


Uh, 2004, Andy. Mighty Ducks made their run in 2003.

Sorry. 2003/2004.

Andy, what makes you think that Flames fans in Edmonton, aren't FROM Edmonton?

What a horrible thought. I feel sorry enough for those poor souls raised by their parents to be Leafs or Habs fans. I can't even imagine the tortured soul who actually chooses to cheer for the Flames. Why, exactly, would one do that? Is the single Cup that much of an incentive?
 


btw, after last night's result, is Calgary's vaunted defense now unvaunted? Doesn't Iginla even vaunt to score anymore? Vill die coach of die flames begone after die playoffs? Holy shit, I can speak german too.

See here for clarification (spits).
 


Hey Andy, great to have you back. knew that retirement wouldn't last.

Oh, I know, you aren't really unretired. You just keep on telling yourself that.

I am also happy to say that there was some Oilers paraphanelia around Calgary last spring, but all things considered, there really was not very much of it.

Go Flames.
 


Hockey fans could really learn a thing or two from European football fans. You won't catch a Celtic fan wearing Rangers blue, unless they wanted to get the shit kicked out of them.

Littlefury is right. We need to designate each Albertan team as either Catholic or Protestant so that we can do away with these ridiculous geograhical divisions.

The Hibbies are gay
The Hibbies are gay
Fuck the IRA
The Hibbies are gay

 


Someone somewhere recently said Oiler fan's motto is now "die, upper management, die (german for "the, upper management, the"). That's been the case for close to two decades now.

I'm someone!

The interweb is really an amazing thing, isn't it?
 


Littlefury is right. We need to designate each Albertan team as either Catholic or Protestant so that we can do away with these ridiculous geograhical divisions.

I suppose I could have used Liverpool/Man U. or Barca/Madrid, but the Old Firm is the first that came to mind.

One Cup, two Cups, three Cups, four
We won four Cups than we won one more
Five Cups, six Cups, seven Cups…wait
Flames have won shit since 1988.
 


And for the record, I have to admit that I sort of understand people form Edmonton cheering for the Flames and vice versa. I figure most people that were born and bred in Alberta (which is now important to note in order to distinguish ourselves from the hoards of newcomers), I think of myself as Albertan first and Calgarian second, so I find it hard to hate Edmonton as much as I'm supposed to.

Toronto on the other hand, Christ, I have 50 years worth of reasons to despise them. I mean for every battle worth noting (political, economical, ect.) Calgary and Edmonton have pretty much stood hand and hand, whereas Calgary is always butting heads with our overlords to the east. Same thing for Montreal. Every year my tax dollars go towards paying off the French so that they don't leave the country, or propping up Bombardier so that they're not forced into bankruptcy by some country operating out of a third world country. I mean, I have tons of reasons to hate Montreal and Toronto, and almost no reason to hate Edmonton.
 


Do Leafs fans jump on the Sens bandwagon because they are a Canadian team, and vice-versa?

Not anymore. I remember thinking to myself, back in the halcyon late 1990's, the first time the Leafs and Sens met in the playoffs, I had no hate-on for the opposition. I recall thinking to myself "it's too bad they have to face each other because it means a Canadian team will be out at the end of it."

But that didn't last long. Amazing what nearly a decade of listening to "we're a finesse team! It's not fair, toronto cheats in the playoffs -- they're rough. The media's biased against us. Bob Cole can't remember my name! The Leafs have to buy all their free agents…1967! The Leafs can't win because their captain is a pussy euro…Alfredsson, now there's a real leader…the Leafs suck at drafting, the Senators are awesome…why don't we get any respect….it's not fair that we're cursed with sieve goalies…" self-indulgent bitchy bullshit will do to one's goodwill.

For this Leaf fan, the Sens were sort of a runty little brother who doesn't really fit in but you feel sort of guilty for. So you let him tag along to your parties, hoping he makes some friends of his own. And then one day, you come home from work and he's sitting in your front room with your smokin' hot girlfriend and she's laughing so hard at his bang-on vaudevillian impression of the weird thing you do with your feet when you walk.

Now it's just on, you little pipsqueak. I mean on.
 


I have tons of reasons to hate Montreal and Toronto, and almost no reason to hate Edmonton.

I don't need a reason to hate Calgary beyond the fact that it's the anti-Edmonton. The jerkwad fans and their souless suckhole of a city is just the cherry on top.
 


I'm a U of C student, so of course, for BSD, and to celebrate the Flames' twin losses to Detroit and Edmonton, I donned one of my Oilers jerseys. I was rather tempted to run through Mac Hall chanting "Let's Go Red Wings," but I couldn't get enough people to go with me. Too bad, it would've been fun.
 


I'm a U of C student

Gross.
 


PPP said...

Come on Andy, you can do it. Stick around. At least for a week or two until Detroit advances.

April 13, 2007 9:43 AM

Andy Grabia said...

Let's redirect that to a question, PPP. Do Leafs fans jump on the Sens bandwagon because they are a Canadian team, and vice-versa?

April 13, 2007 9:45 AM


Did I miss something? Wasn't he asking you to stick around for blogging, not stick around on some sort of oft-spat-upon (and, apparently, soon to be meaningless) bandwagon?
 


I was asking him to stick around blogging but to answer his question see pete's comment.

In 1997 when the sens went 7 against the Sabres I actually wanted them to win.

Never again.

Of course, to finish pete's metaphor with the hot girlfriend, eliminating them 4 times was like punching the runt little brother for being a dick and then banging the hot girlfriend on his bed with the door open.

Of course, by the end of the playoffs someone else had stolen the girl from us.

And for the record, the first teams I root to see eliminated are the Canadian teams and I assume Andy does the same.
 


Wasn't he asking you to stick around for blogging

Yup, and I was changing the subject.

And for the record, the first teams I root to see eliminated are the Canadian teams and I assume Andy does the same.

Yup again, although this year I have a special place in my heart for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. Normally I want Calgary, Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver gone, in that order. I actually don't usually think about Ottawa, because they handle things just fine without any of my evil thoughts.
 


Andy Grabia: The Roger Clemens of the Oilogosphere.
 


Five minutes on CalgaryPuck is all I need to recharge my Flame-hating batteries for a good year.

I still cheer for Canadian teams, but only MTL and Ottawa. And given Comrie is on the sens this year, it's really quite difficult.
 


Andy Grabia: The Roger Clemens of the Oilogosphere.

Better that than the Brett Favre, right?
 


Andy Grabia: The Roger Clemens of the Oilogosphere.

Better that than the Brett Favre, right?


Phew, am I lost.

I can't say that I cheer against other Canadian teams as a rule, but it seems to have turned out that way. I mean, Calgary and Toronto are obvious and Vancouver's fans just annoy me (plus Vancouver 07 reminds me a lot of Calgary 04, which is enough for me.) Ottawa is scratched because of Comrie and I'm no better than indifferent towards Montreal.

That said, it seems that the past year has left me with a simmering hostility towards so many teams around the league, especially in the west, that I have no one left to cheer for.

You can't root against everyone, can you?

That it will have to cap off the year of repetitive testicular trauma, though, means my deepest, darkest fear will come true: Ty Conklin's name will be engraved on a trophy, and it won't be the one dedicated to his magnitude-of-fuck-up-per-minute-of-hockey-played record.
 


You can't root against everyone, can you?

Why not? There seems to be some sort of weird Canadian dogma whereby you have to watch the playoffs, and pick someone else to cheer for, even if your team is out of it. I don't know if it exists in any other major sport. It seems peculiar, and particular, to me. Really, I care more about who doesn't win than I care about who does win. I just want to see Calgary, Anaheim, Vancouver, Dallas and Ottawa out, as soon as possible. And I'm not in a playoff pool, so I don't care in that sense, either. They could cancel the playoffs tomorrow, and I'd be fine with it. July 1st can't come fast enough, and then October 1st, and then hopefully April 1st, 08. If not, repeat cycle, and on and on and on...
 


I am down with this cheer for Canada BS give me the Oilers. I am now cheering for the Preds. What to know why? Vernon Fiddler he is from Edmonton and he has a kick ass name. The other reason he shows up. The Flames played like a bunch of pussies they need to hit anything that moves. Fuck hit the beer vendor this is the playoffs only have to string 16 wins together thats it. Oh Yeah Go Vern... This is my attempt to get him on tilt like the Vote for Dorky
 


Better that than the Brett Favre, right?

Damn straight. Favre is an overrated, mostly-lucky sack of dung and Clemens is going to make all right by going home to Fenway to bolster a rotation with Schilling, Dice-K, and Beckett.

NOTE: Yes, I am a 49ers and Red Sox fan. Couldn't you tell?
 


They could cancel the playoffs tomorrow, and I'd be fine with it. July 1st can't come fast enough, and then October 1st, and then hopefully April 1st, 08. If not, repeat cycle, and on and on and on...

I guess this was my point. As much as I wish the playoffs can be skipped, they can't. And, as a result, someone I don't want to win will win. I don't need to cheer for anyone, but this season's already been depressing enough, without having to endure an entire playoffs without a single ray of hope for a not-bad outcome. (At least, there won't be any hope once LeGG is knocked out.)
 


You can't root against everyone, can you?

No, but I think this would only be a big problem in the unlikely event of an all-Canadian cup final. Even then, if the leafs and anyone of Oilers/Flames/Canucks were fighting for the goods, I wouldn't be cheering on the opponent (buying their gear, etc.) so much as cheering against the leafs.

They could cancel the playoffs tomorrow, and I'd be fine with it

Right on, and I'm happy to admit I quit watching the playoffs in bitterness and disgust the minute my team bites it. To hell with the bandwagon jumpers.
 


Andy:

I think your writing is even better since you quit. :-)

There are lots of teams I wouldn't mind seeing with the Stanley.

San Jose-because they're Oakland
Buffalo-because they deserve it. For '75 and Hull's goal and other things.
Vancouver-because they're kind of like the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
 


Yup again, although this year I have a special place in my heart for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Awww, I'm near tears over here, Andy.
 


Are we waiting for Cosh to accept his appointment?
 


Jay's secret is that he is a closet Leafs fan.

You can't cheer against everyone? No, because eventually you'll have to choose the lesser of two evils but each year I try my best.
 


Buffalo-because they deserve it. For '75 and Hull's goal and other things.

I have pretty liberal standards of acceptable public comportment and those people are fucking animals. Seriously. I'd say that they'd probably destroy the city if they win but can you really wreck a disaster zone?
 


Are we waiting for Cosh to accept his appointment?

How do you know he hasn't? That's the beauty of such an Inquisition.
 


I hate the Flames, I hate the Canucks and all their fickle bandwagon fans. I hate their borrowing hockey teams that have one line of offense and then the souless defensive shell that makes hockey games borrowing. I hate the Leafs and their incestous relationship with hockey night in Canada, I hate the fact that Bob Cole and Harry Neale would begin to sound arroused if they could somehow bring up Doug Gilmour. I hate the obnoxious fans from all three of those teams.

I hate Anahiem, and I hope they make it to the finals only to have Temu Sealane turn into Finnish dust, while Chris Pronger's leg shatters into five thousand pieces causing whomever they're playing to sweep them in 4 while causing them to cough up their draft pick.

I hate Pittsburg for being so ridiculously horrible and lucky that they have good players as result of prolonged sucking.

I hate Atlanta and the fact they even have a hockey team there. I hate Nashville, and Tampa bay for the same reason. No one cares, move the teams were there is snow and people are at least vaguely familair with hockey.

I hate the Dallas Stars for the same reasons the Irish hate the English.

I hate the Rangers for buying our players when the there wasn't a salary cap.

I hate the Devils for being innovators in boring hockey. I hate Minnesota for perfecting it.

I hate San Jose for their whiny coach, and their ridiculous dumb luck in being able to trade spare parts for Joe Thorton because Boston's GM was a complete moron.

I don't really hate Ottawa or Buffalo, both fun teams to watch.
 


andy grabia: You demonstrate quite well what is an obvious fact: Oilers fans are the worst bandwagon fans in existence. Let's look at the evidence:

"There seems to be some sort of weird Canadian dogma whereby you have to watch the playoffs, and pick someone else to cheer for, even if your team is out of it."

The rest of Canada calls that "enjoying hockey". Edmonton fans call it weird.

"And I'm not in a playoff pool, so I don't care in that sense, either. They could cancel the playoffs tomorrow, and I'd be fine with it."

What could could make hockey interesting to an Edmonton fan without an Edmonton team to cheer for? Money, of course. But if there is no money to be won, why would an Edmonton fan watch hockey?

"I can't even imagine the tortured soul who actually chooses to cheer for the Flames. Why, exactly, would one do that? Is the single Cup that much of an incentive?"

And here we see the only reason Edmonton fans cheer for Edmonton: because they won the Stanley Cup a few times.

It seems the only reason you watch hockey is for a chance at bragging rights if your team wins. Or, in other words, the only reason you watch hockey is for a chance to be on a bandwagon.

What a sad situation.

ngthagg
 

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