I have been putting off writing this, I don’t know if that is because I haven’t wanted to believe our season is over, or because the AC went out in my house and it’s too hot to do much of anything, or both.
But here we go, as Preds fans we just experienced our most successful playoff season EVER. Lot’s of writers much better than I are going to write about the stats, the players, and the offseason. I want to write about what I know best. The Fans. I am not a writer, and definitely don’t know all the fun stats and depth and such, but I do know a little something about being a fan.
I have seen the surge of Predator’s fever this year, and it has been amazing. Personally I would love to interview fans that had never been to a game till this season. I don’t know if it’s the new ownership and marketing, the Titan’s less than stellar season, or just the team selling itself with performance. Maybe there are other reasons too, but one thing is certain, “Fang Fever” took over Nashville.
I noticed by December a change. As a diehard fan, I have always been curious and kind of note when out in public other people wearing Preds gear. For the first time, by December, I started really noticing MORE Preds than Titans gear. Not to take away from our team across the river, but they have always seemed to garnish more attention and fan support, not unexpectedly given history of the area. But as I stated, by December, a change was underway. I noticed more Preds gear all around Middle Tennessee. I traveled to Huntsville and Birmingham and found Predators fans there. Over the course of the season I had the opportunity to meet fans from Bowling Green, Knoxville, Memphis , Little Rock, and the Alabama connection. When you have a fan base that WANTS to travel an hour or two or three or more to a game, you know you have a FAN-base. I even had the opportunity to meet a wonderful couple from Montreal, who by love of Sergei have defaulted to become Preds fans and actually flew down for a game.
As fans, it’s been a roller coaster year. Injuries, hot streaks, cold streaks, we’ve been through it all. But some moments that really stuck out. Of course one of the best: The game 6 win over Anaheim. I mean, really does it get any better than that this season? The Bridgestone was a party and no one wanted to leave. One of the low points for me was seeing the fans leave in mass exodus last week. I was genuinely upset as a diehard fan that our fans couldn’t stay that last 5 minutes and show support for the team. But, with that being said, Last night, May 9, the final game, I was so proud of our fans. Of course we had a few who felt the need to leave or throw towels and such on the ice. But overall, Smashville was amazing, even after the final horn sounded. We were on our feet, yelling cheering, SUPPORTING our team. It’s easy to stay and yell and cheer after your first playoff series but to stay and cheer after elimination, that’s when the motto “WE ARE SMASHVILLE” is proven. I have never been more proud of Predators fan as when we all stood and cheered at the end. I have to feel the hundreds of media from around North America all noticed, and I know the players noticed. I will be honest; it made the loss a lot easier for me personally to deal with. And in the end, a standing Ovation for the team was the perfect way to end a historic Season.