It's customary at this time of year to look back on the year that is ending and recall what we will take away the most from the past twelve months. I wrote that customary post yesterday, focusing on the New Jersey Devils' playoff run in 2012 instead of the Incredibly Stupid Lockout of 2012. If there was a list of cliche posts, then you can check that one off.
Of course, it's also customary at this time of year to look ahead and make some sort of resolution for the new year. For one reason or another, it's traditional for people to make proclamations on what they'll do in the next twelve months such as losing weight, quitting a vice, or looking for a new direction. Some people try and fail, others try and succeed, and who knows if these are remembered a month from now. Regardless of their effectiveness, please allow me to suggest a resolution: let's share our passion of hockey with more people.
I'm working off the assumption that if you read a site like In Lou We Trust, then you are a passionate fan. I think it's a fair one to make, especially if you're reading it now. The numbers don't lie and many of the masses who flocked here from April to early July of 2012 aren't here thanks to the Incredibly Stupid Lockout of 2012 Going Into 2013. That's understandable. A Devils website without the Devils actually playing games and performing actions that would be relevant to playing games isn't so interesting. To that end, if you're still reading ILWT, then I must thank you and commend you that your passion in the team and, by extension, the game.
Getting back to the resolution, I'm highlighting the importance of sharing what we enjoy to others because we enjoy it. I don't know about you, but when I receive good news, I usually want to tell other people about it. Maybe they react positively; maybe they point out that it's not so good, but . Sometimes they even become posts on this very site, even if it's something esoteric like noting how Patrik Elias getting 78 points at the age of 35 was the most by such an old player in Devils history. I found it interesting, I found it as another positive from 2011-12, and so I wrote about it - even though it led to some concerning thoughts about the future. Essentially, I found value in it and shared it. So if you spend time, money, and energy in watching Devils hockey, then you find value in it on some level. I'm suggesting you expose others to that value so that they may possibly enjoy it as well.
The key word there is "possibly." The goal of this resolution isn't to force people to be Devils fans or NHL fans or hockey fans, but to at least make them aware of the game. The saying, "You can never underestimate the stupidity of the general public," may be cynically correct; acting as others aren't so smart for recognizing the greatness of hockey isn't going to convince them. I don't know about you, but insulting my intelligence for not being interested in something isn't going to make me want get interested. It would make me want to ignore you, insult you back, and some other actions that doesn't involve what it is you wanted me to pay attention to in the first place. No, the idea is to expose others to hockey. Invite them to experience what you experience from hockey.
There's another key word: "invite." That's such a perfect word for what I'm suggesting in the new year. It leaves the opportunity open for the other person. It promotes interaction. It says, "Hey, check this out." How you choose to invite others is up to you. I recognize that going to a NHL game is expensive. While taking someone to see the Devils live would absolutely work, there are other ways. You can simply suggest watching a game on TV either at home or a public facility that has televisions in addition to food and drink. You can suggest going to some other game, such a local minor team or a youth team. You can even do small things such as turn on the radio to a game whilst driving somewhere or discussing that awesome hockey thing you saw the other night. I have to emphasize that it's hockey you're exposing others to; it doesn't have to be the Devils since, you know, they aren't playing.
Since you're dealing with others, you're going to find more success if you consider someone else's interests in the process of exposing them to the game. Contrary to the opinions of others, there really isn't a wrong reason to get into game. Everyone's got their own proverbial trigger and so different aspects may grab their interest more than others. I'd love to tell you that the constant action of the sport alone grabs one's attention and sets them as fans for life, but that would be a lie. Here are a few anecdotal examples of how people started to become fans of their favorite team and the sport: the team's colors, the team's logo, the team being local, a personal connection to the team, their family were fans of the team, a player/players on the team were attractive, a player/players on the team were exceptionally good, highlight videos of the team, playing as the team in a video game, and the team winning a championship (or more). I can speak to some of these personally, albeit with other sports. We can comment and criticize (and, oh, how some of these are criticized) about how they got involved, but does it really matter what triggered them as long as they hit the target and are now passionate hockey fans? The first step of the journey isn't so important as the fact that there was a first step at all. That's the goal, really. The resolution is to share our passion of the sport such that others may develop an interest. Focus on the goal, not the shot.
If they get it, then encourage it. If they don't, then accept it and move on. As much as hockey can be for everyone, it isn't just like football, soccer, cars, classical music, the early works of Vincent van Gogh, U.S. Civil War tomes like Battle Cry for Freedom, and vacuum cleaner analysis isn't for everyone. Everyone has their own interests and that generally has to be respected. As much as it pains me to bring up the thought, they may understand the joy that comes from hockey but not the New Jersey Devils but some other team. Whatever the outcome, don't put down someone for not getting into it or not becoming the same fan as you. There's no need to make an ultimatum about a friendship, relationship, or some other form of interaction if they don't enjoy hockey like you do. If anything, that will turn others off to you, which is much worse than not being interested in hockey.
As far as who to try this on, I would suggest people you already know and come into contact with. Sure, you can try it with strangers and people you've just met; but it's going to be easier with someone familiar. You'll have an idea of what they may like and they're going to be more receptive to an invitation from you because they enjoy being around you to some degree. This could be someone in your family, your circle of friends, your partner, your co-worker, and/or someone you see regularly. People you already accept that already accept you regardless of how they feel about the game. You can make those bonds stronger from sharing this interest, which I think is more than enough reason to make an attempt. If they're already into it at some level - be it hardcore, follow-every-player-game-and-blog-post-about-the-team fans or more casual, I'll-root-for-them-if-they-do-well - then you'll have to discover new people. And if they're not interested, then you may connect with them on something else. If they are, then you've already made a connection, if not made it stronger.
Of course, I may be stating all of this for my own benefit. After all, one of the reasons I started In Lou We Trust was because I was the only one I knew that was into the Devils like I am. The more I realized that I'm not alone of being into this on such a deep level, the more I realized that others have a potential to at least appreciate the game on some other level. That's why I'm suggesting this resolution; to help develop that potential in others. Even if all they do is just ask you about the game from time to time to make conversation, they'll be more aware of the sport than they were before - and that's a success in part of your influence. Perhaps you've already done this and will continue to do so. If so, great. Also, please feel free to share how you've gone about it in the past so we all can learn. If not, then please consider this resolution. It may not be as important as losing weight or getting a new perspective, but you may find it's easier to accomplish and succeed.
As a last suggestion for this suggested resolution, it'll be much easier to make an attempt if/when the Devils return to the ice. It'll be in the news when they do, which makes it simple to say, "Hey, the team's back, let's go check them out," while it's still fresh in everyone's mind. Again, just a suggestion for a suggestion. You can start with this today if you'd like. While I've tried to keep the post somewhat generic, I do realize that since it's a Devils-site, I figured you'd want to try and open their eyes to the team you support if you choose to do it all. In any case, it's a suggested resolution. Feel free to share whether or not you'll add this to your list of resolutions (assuming you have one) and how you'll go about accomplishing it in the comments. Thank you for reading.