Sticking By The Islanders: How I View Being a Fan

By Jon Zella

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday I was sitting around my parent’s house thinking of something to do, because you can only sit on the couch in your pajamas for so many days in a row.

I was thinking a while when I remembered, “Oh yeah. There’s an Islander game tonight.” So I called my buddy and said I found tickets in the 200s (normally $65) for $15 a piece on Stub Hub and he says, “Perfect.”

I pick him up later in the day and off we go on our icy journey to the magical old barn.

When we get to our seats and I realize that we’re sitting one section away from where I sat for my first ever Islander game in 1996. I remember getting there over an hour before the game in my “Gorton Fisherman” jacket and stood behind the bench trying to reach my fingers through the glass to touch whatever was on the ledge. I caught a puck that game that I later got signed by Zdeno Chara.

Then I remembered the game when the Islanders beat the Capitals 4-3 to get back to the playoffs for the first time since 1993. Finally, I flashed back to last year’s playoffs when I went to game three. I remembered how electric the air was and much like my first game, I’ll never forget it.

All of those memories are important to me not because they won or lost, but because they were my team playing in an arena that means a whole lot to me.

Having said all of that, to me, being a fan is being there through thick and thin. I don’t sit there screaming, “Bailey sucks,” or join the “Fire Cappy” chants because that’s not my job. Sure, I yell at the players and offer better ways for the coaches to put lines together as if I know more than them , but in reality I’m there to watch professional hockey.

Being a fan is about supporting the team not only by showing up and cheering when (or if) the Islanders score, but by getting a box of popcorn and a soda and only complaining about how expensive parking is until you get inside.

Gone are the days fans showed up to games, booed if they stunk, made a mess around their seats, and went home. I’m not suggesting that the fans who are openly negative about the Islanders don’t love the team the same amount that I do. However, I do think their passion for the game is being misguided because our team isn’t doing so well after a successful 2013 campaign.

You don’t have to agree or disagree with every opinion that is posted about the Islanders from any source. But you should respect it at the least.