Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Garth and Public Opinion - Part II

Chris Botta posted yesterday on about the true fan. Try getting a word in edge wise over there and you have better luck ice skating on the Ottawa River (Its 30 degree Celsius) in Ontario.

He basically states if you are reading these blogs in June chances are you will still be around come October. His points about true fans are valid and obvious. The issue not stated is the lack of synergy with the Islander's franchise and the rest of Long Island.

My opinions here are not absolute through and through but more of a general feeling I get from when I come home to Long Island a few times a year. I guess I say this because I have two groups of friends from back home. There are my Islander friends. And there are the rest of my friends. They are two distinct groups and as hard as I have tried over the years the non-Isles friends just don't get the Islanders. They do get the Yankees. They do get the Mets. They do get the Giants and they do get the Jets. Islanders not so much. This is where this whole idea is born.

For years of missteps and bad luck, the general population really doesn't care. In order for the franchise and the Lighthouse project to succeed this all needs to improve. I mentioned my wayward non-Isles friends but in this case let me use my own parents as a barometer. A typical phone call from my paternal parent consists of a phone call that starts off with, "Did you hear what the Islanders did now?" After which we could discuss anything from Spano to Sanjay, Muller to Milbury, Smith to Smyth, or one of the multiple 7, 8, 9, 10 plus game losing streaks. The point being that my parents are casual fans. Without my ongoing and never ending corrections they would think that most of the articles in the news are true. While most of the stories have basis in fact, I am able to give them "the rest of the story." It has apparently worked because I have gotten them to show up at a few games the past few years. Although, mi madre refuses to ever go to a Islander-Ranger game again.

What about the casual fans that don't have the NHL Fan of the Year for a son? Who will tell them the real deal about the franchise? For this is why we need to make sure that we do the right thing this weekend.


The success of this franchise on Long Island depends on the Lighthouse Project. The Lighthouse Project is invariably attached at the hip to the NY Islanders. If the NY Islanders are perceived as inept so will the general public's view of the Lighthouse.

I do not agree that the two should be connected and wish someone would correct all the people that continue to use the team name and the Lighthouse project in the same sentence because in reality while they are closely related each should not have anything to do with the other. The Lighthouse is the lighthouse and the Islanders are the Islanders. The perception that most people have that the Lighthouse is for the Islanders is wrong. The Lighthouse project is needed for us the citizens and the community of Long Island. The fact that the Islanders will benefit from it is an added bonus for a die hard fan like myself. It still doesn't change the fact that my parents spend more in a month for their property taxes in a month in TOH that I do in a year in North Carolina.

The connection between the two is distinct regardless of how I may feel. The connection is why John Tavares needs to be the name that Garth says at the podium on Friday night.

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