Around three weeks ago friends/fans from other NHL teams brought up two things to me based on what they have seen on twitter. One theory I tested and one I paid attention to. One their perception was totally wrong and the other their perception seems to be right. So today’s edition of perception vs reality covers “Favoritism” and “Fighting”.

 

FAVORITISM

As we all know perception and reality very rarely match up. So when a few non cbj fans asked me how I came to be a “favorite” of the Jackets Organization I was a bit perplexed. I’m not a designated “community leader” but since I’ve become a fan of the CBJ back in 2011 they have supported my writing and have recognized me multiple times. Partially because I’m constantly putting that bug in their ear that I’m right there in front of them. With that being said I took three weeks off of writing and rarely tweeted about the Blue Jackets. During those three weeks the Blue Jackets twitter never mentioned me and didn’t follow Friday me. Why? Because I didn’t talk about the Jackets and when I did it got lost in the abyss of tweets.

If you’re serious about being recognized you have to put yourself out there. The CBJ media relations team does not have all day to sit around and sift through every single tweet. They are doing their best and people need to calm down a little. This is new territory for sports teams. No other team in any other  league communicates with their fans the way CBJ social media does. We have to be patient with them. Imagine 3-5 people trying to respond to fans, write articles about the team, and make sure the media is up and running. It’s time consuming and with a shortened season their main focus is getting information about the players/organization out there. Eventually they have time to focus on fan interaction.  Some of your tweets probably get lost when we blow up everyone’s timeline during a game or CBJ related event . We are loud, proud, and some find us annoying. So in an attempt to not let your voice get lost in the crowd every Friday I will post a Follow Friday spot light on Crash The Net. Fans have to help each other out. I know there are awesome Blue Jackets fans who are getting lost in the crowd and I want to find you.

With that being said I want to remind you of a few things. If you’re going to be consistently negative, don’t consistently tweet about the team, have a potty mouth, and are rude to other fans the Blue Jackets cannot tweet you out. They are an organization with an image to uphold. You could say it’s “just twitter” but to the Blue Jackets it’s also business.

 

FIGHTING

*Disclaimer: I am not attacking anybody. I know I’m not 100% innocent either.*

I’ve had multiple people ask me why the Blue Jackets fan base fights so much. I didn’t believe them so I took a step back and observed.

We are all fans. We should work together. When we walk through that door it doesn’t matter who we are, what clothes we wear, how we walk, or how we talk. What matters is we are all jackets fans. This should also carry into twitter. I’m not saying we have to be friends. I’m saying we have to start respecting each other a bit more. I get that each of us have different views on the team and how it should be run. We aren’t always going to agree with each other. Most of us on twitter are adults and we need to start acting like it. If you do not agree with someone you could do one of two things: Ignore it or try to create a nice healthy dialogue. What you should not do is jump down their throat, attack them, or subtweet about them. Over the past three weeks I’ve seen this time and time again. If you don’t like what someone has to say then unfollow them. If they keep harassing you then block them. We should be saving our anger and hatred for the other teams. So for the sake of the Blue Jackets lets be cordial with each other.

 

I hope we can all learn to sacrifice hate for the love of the Columbus Blue Jackets.

 

 

 

 

This is my obligatory lockout post. I’ve stayed out of this long enough. Now I’m just flustered and have a lot of stuff to say. Everyone is freaking out about a season that may not happen. Note I said “may not” happen. It’s not september 15th yet. Anything can happen. The probability that there will be no lockout is far greater than the Cubs chances at winning a world series. As God as my witness if there is no 2012-2013 NHL season then the Chicago Cubs will win the world series in 2013. That’s right I said it. Enjoy my thoughts on the lockout. Well I have a feeling I’m going to incite a riot with a few of the things I have to say.

 

Hurts more than just the players and the owners

A lockout will not just put the players and owners to out of a job. Technically they won’t be out of a job. Players can go overseas and play if they want. Owners will still make money even if their team doesn’t play. What about the ticket sellers, the ushers, the custodial workers? What about the vendors, the bartenders ? What about the ice girls, the mascots, the stadium Djs? They are all going to lose a job or not get paid.  I have heard that some people working within the organizations will still have a job. They will just have a different role in the organization for the length of the lock out. I don’t know if that goes for everyone. If I worked for the organization I would be scared for my job. This is about more than just the players and the owners. You are playing with the lives of those who are struggling to pay the rent or put food on the table. I don’t know the players. I don’t know the owners. Maybe they know all of this. Maybe they don’t. I just hope these people are in their thoughts as they negotiate.

 

Players going overseas

I know how bad you want to continue playing hockey. Believe me when I say I know not having a job stinks. I do wonder one thing. Why wouldn’t you stay and fight for the end of a lockout. You have waited your whole life to play in the best league in the world. When the first sign of struggle comes along you flee? I don’t get that. If I had my dream job and something was getting in the way of it I would fight until there was no fight left in me. By going overseas during the lockout you are sending the message that you don’t want this as bad as the fans want the end of a lockout. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe you can fight for your team while playing in another league but I have to believe that would be hard. With all the training, practicing, games and traveling I do not see it being easy to put forth your ideas to making the lockout come to an end. I’d rather you stay here and train your butt off  than go overseas and leave us fans behind.

 

Unemployment

I know people are moaning and groaning about how players might be able to collect unemployment. If a player is making anywhere between 1 million and the league minimum I’m ok with it. Why? You have to think about how much everything costs. Trainers, security, housing in a safe place, nutrition specialists, and equipment. None of that comes cheap.

 

My Solutions:

These are just a few solutions I could see working.  Clearly there are a lot of things that need to be done and I’m just a lowly writer who is not involved in these negotiations. I want a season so I’m throwing my two cents into the mix.

 

Pay cut:
Everyone making over 6 million dollars a year should take a pay cut. This includes owners, the commissioner, coaches, players, everyone. If money is an issue taking a pay cut should be one of the options on your list. If your team is not meeting it’s goals you shouldn’t be making the amount of money you do. Isn’t that how the “real” life works? You don’t meet your goals you lose your job or take a pay cut.

NO MORE BIG CONTRACTS
After this season No more crazy contracts. I don’t care how bad you want to win. A star player doesn’t always make for a star team. There is also this thing called chemistry. You can’t buy chemistry. You can try, it may work, but more than likely it will not. If a player wants to play for you they will come play for you. If a team wants you to play for them they will provide what is necessary. Note I said “what is necessary”. Not “what will keep you in your mercedes benz”.  Some of the contracts this summer were completely unnecessary. You’re not going to make money by shelling out that much money. You have to give a little to get a little but you also have to make sure you don’t end up with a losing team.

NO MORE EXTENDED CONTRACTS

No player should be allowed to have contracts over 5 years. You want job security then play hard, win games. That’s the nature of the beast. That’s what it’s like in the real world. No one knows what the future will bring. You could get hurt and never be able to come back. Now you are just eating away at the teams money. It sounds cold I know. I’m sorry I don’t mean to sound cold. It’s just a harsh reality.

REALIGNMENT

Sit down and figure out a money saving realignment. Get the realignment to a point where the teams are not constantly traveling. Work the schedule out so you can take the bus out to the nearest team. It worked in the past maybe It’s time to make it work again. A team in Columbus shouldn’t constantly be flying out to the west coast all the time and barely seeing anyone on the east coast. It’s silly that Columbus, Chicago and Detroit only plays Pittsburgh and Ottawa once a year. When they are close enough to play multiple times a year.

Blackouts
This one pains me the most to say since I would definitely be affected by the outcome. If you don’t have at least 80% of your seats sold by a certain date your game should be blacked out from the surrounding area. How else are people going to be motivated to get their butts to a game. It works in football, I think it could work in the NHL. There is no reason why there should be empty seats at playoff games. I’m looking at you Detroit Red Wings, Phoenix Coyotes, and Florida Panthers. When I went to the round 1 game 3 Detroit vs Nashville at Joe Louis Arena there were many empty seats. Not just that but there were people buying tickets the day of the playoff game. You should be sold out. Especially in Hockey Town. Come on fans.

 

Stop raising ticket prices

Fans are not going to come to games if you keep raising ticket prices. Especially if you are doubling prices. Now the owners are going to tell me they need to pay their players. Well maybe you should have thought about that before you shelled out 8 million dollars for a player who isn’t performing at their best.

FANS NEED TO GO TO GAMES

Fans if you want to help revenue. You HAVE to go to games. I’m not saying you have to sit in the most expensive seats but you have to go to the games. Sit in the nosebleeds. Buy season tickets. At least from the stand point of the Columbus Blue Jackets through out the season you can get special ticket packs. There are green seats for $10 if you get to the game early enough to buy them. If you love the team you have to find a way to the arena. This also falls on the fans.

 

Fans Convert People

We all know people who don’t like hockey, don’t understand it, or don’t even know what it is. Start small take them to a local high school game. I took my friend Jim to the St Eds vs  St Ignatius game and he was hooked. You have to look for opportunities to create a fire of passion in future fans. Take them to games with special offers. For example: This past February there was a tweet up at the Blue Jackets game. Afterwards you could meet and talk to James Wisniewski. If they see and talk to a player they will likely make a connection. Then you have a fan who wants to come to more games.

Bring people to free events like Front Street Fridays, Open Houses, and Bartending night.

Be welcoming to new fans. I’m not saying you have to be friends you just have to be nice. Which since I’ve moved down here I’ve seen is like pulling teeth. Listen to what new people have to say. Branch outside of your bubble. You will find people with common interests and you have thus made someone new feel comfortable in their new surrounding.

Owners , managers, coaches and players put yourself out there in the community.

Owners you want people to come to your games and buy your merch right? Well put yourself out there in the community. I mean really put yourself out there. Go to all of your kids games. Go to functions of those who you employ. Get involved in your local neighborhood. Volunteer at the local shelter. Shop at local stores and restaurants. Not just the ones located around the arena and around your house. I’m not saying sacrifice your privacy. Everyone deserves their privacy. Just put yourself out there in a way that will make people remember you.  Maybe even go so far as to stand by the doors on game night every once in a while and greet fans. Welcome them into “Your House”. Show the fans how much you appreciate them. If a fan feels appreciated they will come to games and more than likely bring people along for the ride.

 

 

I know these sound a little silly but we all know every little bit helps. I believe these things  could help prevent future lockouts.

VIVA LA HOCKEY!!!

JUST SAY NO TO LOCKOUTS!!

 

 

 

A little over a year ago I fell in love with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Many of my friends were miffed because I popped out of the womb proclaiming my love for the Chicago Blackhawks. They constantly ask me how I could even think about liking the Jackets. My response to them is usually this : “The Chicago Blackhawks are like your first love. You hold on to them because they have been there your whole life. The Columbus Blue Jackets are that homely girl who steals your heart and you end up marrying her. She cooks for you, cleans for you, and would do anything for you. The Blue Jackets are that team who will do everything in their power to show you just how much you are appreciated. Not because they have to because they want to.”  That my friends is real love.

I would like to take a moment to thank the Columbus Blue Jackets organization for everything they have done for me. Especially recently.

To my very first ticket rep Erica : Thank you for the support you showed my family last 4th of July when my Uncle Don died. You called me the day after the funeral to check in with me. To see how I was doing. Not once did you mention buying season tickets. Then in February when I lost my job you gave me a hug and said things will get better. You were right Erica. Things did get better.

To James Wisniewski: I met you two days after I became unemployed. When you found out I lost my job you wished me luck and said “I’m sure someone as nice as you will get a job in no time.” In July you were tweeting out local businesses from fans on twitter. I still didn’t have a job so I chanced it and tweeted at you saying I had no job. You in turn did something that literally changed my life. You retweeted me and added “Someone hook this girl up with a job!”. Two weeks later a fan of yours, who I’ve never met, tweeted a job lead at me. I looked into it  and the day before my birthday I was hired in as an Assistant Manager. Thank you so much for your support. Thank you for tweeting out that I needed a job. I’ve followed your career since you were a Blackhawk and never in my wildest dreams did I think James Wisniewski would be one of the reasons why I have a job. I could never thank you enough.

To my second ticket rep Cody: Thank you for your patience. You became my ticket rep in the midst of my unemployment. You listened to me talk about my struggles with moving. Especially about how hard it is to be away from my family. You wished me luck with every job interview I told you about. You kept me positive with every job I was denied. You called me to congratulate me on my new job and to wish me a happy birthday. Cody you have gone above and beyond what anyone could ask for in a ticket rep. Again, thank you. I can’t wait to sit down and talk to you about what I can do season ticket wise. It’s going to be a great season!!

To, the one and only, Jack “Captain Amerijack” Johnson : Thank you for the birthday tweet that killed my battery. :) I was extremely worried about my birthday this year. It was my first birthday in 27 years that I was away from my family. Everyone that I’m friends with in Columbus was working on my birthday and I was afraid to be alone. See on my 21st birthday one of my best friends committed suicide and every birthday since then if I’m not busy I end up dwelling on it. Jack, this was the first birthday since her death that I didn’t stop smiling the whole day. The amount of love I received from your fan base was unreal. Thank you. Thank you so much for making me feel special on my birthday. You didn’t have to.

 

There are many more stories like this from fans around the organization. If you are a Blue Jackets fan then you are loved!

Please share your heart warming Blue Jacket stories in the comment below. I would love to hear them. I’m sure the organization would too.

THANK YOU COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS!

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