The above picture is not of me, but of Mario Dileo, another Rangers fan. I do not know him, nor speak for him, just appreciate his passion.
Ok, onto the subject at hand, the Great Booing Debate. This battle has roared its ugly head again thanks to the play -- well, very presence of -- Rangers defenseman Marek Malik.
I will get back to him in a bit, but the two sides of the debate are basically this:
SIDE A - You are a fan of the team, so you support the team, no matter what they do.
SIDE B - You cheer when the team does well, but are quick to voice your displeasure when they do not, usually in the form of booing.
There is some grey area, but those in each side feel quite strongly that they are correct and that the other are not "real fans."
The one thing that I have found, after being part of argument after argument on the matter, is that you have to agree to disagree because there is no right answer. People express their passion in different ways, and you just have to respect that. I am not going to pry you out of your seat to yell and cheer when I do, but you shouldn't chastise me when I boo or yell. Different strokes, for different folks. The only time I take exception is when people curse endlessly. Even though they are often priced out of it, professional sports are still family entertainment. However, that does not include the occasional "Asshole" chants directed towards players on the other team or the officials.
As for me, I yell and I boo but I also am the first to yell encouragement when a guy lays down to block a shot, or cheer when the team kills a penalty or does the little things that show they care and are putting in maximum effort.
And on that note, I take it back to the impetus for this post, Marek Malik. You cannot watch Malik play and say he appears to give it everything he has. He waves at skaters as they pass by, sometimes swinging his purse at them, sometimes going so far as to try to shove them into the boards but rarely does he knock them off the puck despite the fact that he often at least three inches taller than them.
I didn't boo his introduction at the home opener (as many fans did), but I did start booing him when he started playing like a pylon in the Rangers end. Malik was his usual lousy self playing soft not pushing people off the puck, waving his stick senselessly and showing his complete lack of agility while letting skaters have free warrant to do what they want in the Rangers zone. Yes, he put up three assists (two of which I find to be incidental rather than based on deft passing skills) but that does not change the fact that he put up a poor performance doing his job as a defenseman.
Yes I booed him, and joined in a 'M-A-LIK, Malik You Suck' chant at one point. Did that stop me from cheering when he got his assists? No. Did that stop me from laughing hysterically when he was named third star? No. Does that not make me a 'true fan'? Well, that's for you to decide. I believe I am, but what you think is what you think and thankfully (?) that can't be changed. At the end of the day we are both rooting for the same team, and I hope we will be cheering and high-fiving together at the end of the season. If not, your loss.