(Picture courtesy of @sportsnetirf )
Every once in a while, a question comes along that the statistical side of Canucks Army cannot answer. A question that no matter how deep you dive into the numbers, an answer will not be forthcoming. A situation where Canucks Army has to call upon their emotional leader, yours truly (I like to hand out arbitrary titles to myself), to figure out a solution.
That question, of course, is should Canucks fans boo Ryan Kesler in his return game to Rogers Arena on Thursday?
In the famous words of my buddy Thomas Drance, read more past the jump!
Boo this man. Boo him.
Seriously. It’s that easy. Boo the hell out of him. Let him hear it every time he touches the puck. Let him hear it every time he taps his stick for a pass. Let him hear it every time he falls down when a stiff breeze knocks him over and he snaps his head back like a well placed sniper took him out.
It’s hockey. Hockey is a sport. Sports are fun and meant to be stupid. Seriously, we are yelling and cheering men for putting a rubber object into a net. Sports should never be confused with a soapbox for moral high grounds. If people want to boo, go for it.
I have seen people debating this topic left and right on twitter, with some people on the pro boo side, some on the anti-boo side, and some on the passive aggressive, “don’t say anything to him” silent treatment side. That last one is a bit weird because it feels like we’re treating Ryan like an ex (Should we leave boxes of his old jerseys scattered on the lawn outside Rogers Arena? Take pictures of him on the Canucks and cut his head out of them?).
That being said, should you want to cheer the man on for all of his years of dedication to the city, for that Nashville series, for the fact you spent $1000 dollars on Ryan Kesler jerseys over the years, then go for that too.
The point is, at least there will be some emotion in the game. At the end of the day, that is what sports should always be about. Fans being invested in the game emotionally. People love a good sub plot to any game, and Kesler playing against his former team is certainly a big one.
And let’s not lie to ourselves. Kesler lives for this shit. He loves it. If he could, he would bathe in it and drink it afterwards. He loves loves LOVES being a focal point of attention in a game like this. If he had a sexual fetish, it would be “thousands of people booing me while I perform.”
This isn’t the SImpsons. He isn’t Darryl Strawberry. He won’t cry if we boo him.
In fact, the only reason I can think of to not boo him is because it might actually fire him up for the game. Kesler, whether you like him or not, can still come up big in important games and if people from his old city start booing him, he will most likely take great pleasure in cramming a win down their throats.
Sometimes people react really strongly to the idea of booing. They get wrapped up in the idea if it is ok to boo a pro athlete. They debate whether it is the “right thing to do”. The thing for me is people will remember “that crazy game where Kesler got booed every time he touched the puck” versus “that game where we silently watched Martin Hanzal murder our team in front of us, one player at a time.”
As long as you aren’t screaming oddly overly aggressive personal things at Kesler (“I HATE YOUR FAMILY”), and just keep it to on ice things (“I HATE YOUR DIVING”), boo away.
Sports are about emotions and creating memories. Cheer on Kesler. Boo Kesler. Do what you like. You might as well have some fun with it.