The HSBC can be a pretty quiet place sometimes.
Sure, a lot of the quieter sections of the arena were made that way by some rather dull personalities and uninspired play on the ice, and the fan base did get jacked up for the stretch to the playoffs and for Round One.
But on regular season nights, the crowd needs to be loud. Maybe we need a “Sam’s Army.”
From Ryan Miller, after the Sabres clinched the playoffs in the last game of the regular season:
“We can feel it, we can tell on the ice that we need the crowd behind us, even when we’re not playing our best we appreciate some support. You can’t always go into the locker room feeling boos, we need some help, we need some support, we need everybody in this city behind us to do this the right way, that’s just how it goes.”
“You go into these other buildings and it’s energy for the other team, going into Philly we’re going to have to be a close bunch because they’re going to be charged up there and it’s the same here I think we need that energy, we need to feed off it, even the smallest plays.”
“I think that’s the difference this year – I think people are ready to start buzzing and last year they were waiting for something to happen, we kind of backed our way in so there is a little bit of a difference there. I think that’s what people around here are waiting for, they don’t want to be let down and we’re going to need their help to do it the right way so, come along for the ride!”
Miller got his wish – well, sort of – naturally, fans are going to be three-arena-beers-in-crazy during the playoffs. It’s the part where he notes how fans were sorta waiting around for something good to happen before they decided to start making some noise.
Lots of folks say, “Well, if they stink I am gonna’ boo them. I bought tickets. When they play well I cheer. So what?” Well, because that sounds an awful lot like bandwagoning, that’s what.
I am not doubting the passion of Sabres fans – who are of the most ardent, passionate, and hockey-savvy fans in the world. But turning that passion into a little noise sure would be a nice change.
Sometimes it’s hard to be that guy who starts the “Let’s go, Buffalo!” chant in the stands when the boys on the ice are faltering. Maybe, because of that, we need our own hockey version of soccer’s “Sam’s Army.”
I know, I know – I know what you are thinking:
“What is soccer?” “What is Sam’s Army?” Their mission statement:
“Our mission is clear; SAM’S ARMY® wants enthusiastic soccer fans who will PARTICIPATE at games! We want people who will STAND and SING for the DURATION of the game, show their colors, bring original flags, give our team the home field advantage, and ENERGIZE the rest of the crowd! We want to make these events as fun as possible for everyone! If you feel up to this challenge, then SAM’S ARMY® is for you! The goal of SAM’S ARMY® is to make soccer games a more enjoyable experience for everyone. We will not tolerate hooligan, racist, or violent behavior.”
Sounds good to me. Where do I sign up?
Well, I can’t – right now it’s just an idea, but one that I hope catches on.
I say we call it “Stanley’s Army.”
Who’s with me?
*Tip-o-the-sunglasses to reader Derek Fettes for alerting me to “Sam’s Army.” Derek: you’ve been promoted to corporal. Congratulations!