My beloved Atlanta Thrashers are moving to Winnipeg. As a season ticket holder and avid fan, I am terribly saddened about losing our NHL team. My emotions range from angry to sad, and both of those feelings can be aptly summarized by others. Tally’s “F- You, Thrashers Edition” perfectly sums up my anger, and Virginia’s “Goodbye, Thrashers” video, well, makes me cry.
Everyone has been expressing their unhappiness about losing the Thrashers, so instead I thought I’d take a minute to say thank you to those who made being a fan so much fun.
Thank you to the team. Players have come and gone over the years, but the Thrashers roster was always largely comprised of men who were approachable, appreciative, and passionate about their sport. Whether it was grabbing an autograph at practice or toasting at Casino Night, I have always been impressed by the down-to-earth sensibilities of our players. I won’t be a Winnipeg fan, but I’ll gladly cheer for the individuals who once called themselves Thrashers.
Thank you to the Thrashers media. Ben Wright, Thrashers web guy extraordinaire, always made us fans feel like we had a man on the inside. Dan Kamal made me love radio in a way I never thought possible: I’m sure many a fellow traveler caught me shouting at the radio and cheering while driving down the road. The AJC’s Chris Vivlamore was our man on the scene, keeping us up on the latest scoop. Even the bloggers have been a joy, from Virginia’s fabulously snarky photo captions at Getting Pucks Deep to The Falconer, who allowed me to post an April Fool’s article about Ron Hainsey’s hair on Bird Watcher’s Anonymous.
Thank you to my seatmates in 319D. Yes, I’ll still see you guys. I’m married to one of you, and the rest, well, we’ve got more going for us than just a shared love of hockey. Thank you for putting up with my screaming and sign waving night after night, year after year.
Thank you to Jim Slater. That’s right, Jimmy gets his own thank you. I’ve always said that there’s a big difference between a fan and a fan for life, and even the smallest gesture by an athlete can tip the scale. Jimmy has always been so kind and so conversational when I’ve met him. He once called me the biggest Slater fan in Philips Arena, and seemed truly flattered by my giant Slater banner. I started cheering for him because he had a fun name (Slater/Slayer), but became a dedicated fan because of his passion and hard work on the ice. I will cheer for Jimmy no matter where he plays. I am a fan for life.
Thank you to my fellow Thrashers fans. I’m so fortunate to have met so many of you, whether it was at games, events, or even online. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed spending so many game nights in the company of thousands of friends.
Here’s hoping that we are all blessed enough to have many more experiences as memorable, fun and exciting as being a Thrashers fan has been.