Monday, March 4, 2013

An Open Letter To Hockey Fans - The Response

I am sure many of you read the "An Open Letter To Hockey Fans" that I posted on February 14th. You can check the archives if you haven't seen it. It was a letter written by Shanna Wray, the wife of Rapid City Rush captain, Scott Wray. As I said at the time Shanna was talking about some issues that I agreed with in that we as fans are always looking at the next ECHL player, European player or amateur player to come in and save the day. We never seem to be happy with the squad we currently have.
I am not doing Shanna's post justice as she covered many aspects of what she was going through and feeling. She took lots of criticism for what she had to say even though the majority of comments were supportive. As a fellow blogger I know what it is like to have someone take your words and make is sound like you are whining, complaining, ungrateful. etc.

Below is the post Shanna put up today. You can see it is called "A response" (against my better judgement). As a fellow blogger I know these kind of posts don't change peoples minds. Supporters will agree and the doubters will still be doubters so my advise would have been to let it go even though I might do the same thing in the same situation. I know Shanna is a good mother, hockey wife and I might say blogger as well.

Since I posted the original letter I felt it was only fair to post the response. And check out Shanna's blog at: as whether you are a mom or a hockey fan you will enjoy it.

A Response (against my better judgement)

7:03 am, on a Sunday morning, found me sitting with my coffee in front of the computer, checking the stats page on my blog , curious to see what kind of action my (not so interesting) wordpress site has seen in the last couple of weeks.  If you follow me, you might have noticed I had quite an exciting couple of days in February. I wrote a very rant-y,  post about Mr. Sometimes’ job (again!) and BOY did I get some hand-slapping, tsk’ing and down right nasty responses from it.  By chance, and some really, really great sharing of said post going on, my little piece of the blogosphere found itself on Message Boards and Forums throughout the leagues.  My “Open Letter” found its way onto so many peoples screens that I wasn’t prepared for the reaction it got. I barely had time to react before the barrage of comments, both negative and positive found its way into my inbox. The positive comments had me absolutely buzzing inside. But, the negative ones kind of took over. I felt really crappy for a day.  And then I got over it.  People aren’t always going to like what you have to say. I think we learn this early on in life, but even so, I felt kind of sick, kind of angry and a lot sad.
When I say that I was sad, that’s regardless of the fact that it was immediately clear that I had way more positive feedback than negative.  The cheerleaders in my corner were comprised of loyal fans (YES, a good bunch of them from the Booster Club), anyone with a nice balance of hockey knowledge and common sense and people who actually live this hockey lifestyle. Even people who (gasp!) don’t really know hockey at all, who just appreciated my rant-y and stabby approach to writing. The neigh-sayers, on the other hand, seemed to be more along the lines of the “quick-to-judge-didn’t-read-the-post-entirely-or-at-all types”.  The ones that can’t see the forest for the trees and Who are offended by something that was simply a post written by a wife, who was sad and angry about a situation that directly affects her/her husband/her family, posted on her personal blog, that kind of went viral.  So a day to be sad and feel sick and judged.  But then I moved on. And I felt good about myself again.  Until yesterday.
In the dashboard of your blog, there’s a page where you can see every single click, link, referrer of your blog.  You can see which sites mentioned you, commented on your post, etc.  I’ve said it before, I don’t read the message boards and forums that go along with hockey, so when I saw this particular link, I assumed it was a fellow blogger (hockey-related) and clicked on it, hunkered down in front of my mac, coffee in hand, excited at the prospect of possibly reading another hockey blog.  And then I realized as I scanned the screen, this was not a blog at all. This was yet another (lovely) forum where I was being ripped to pieces.  If it had stopped at my post,like, “silly, silly girl, doesn’t she know that this all comes with the territory?” all condescending and crap, I’d have probably been okay.  It didn’t though, as it went on to talk about how ridiculous I was that I would NOT post on the forums, that I was a coward and I was spoiled.  That I lacked the common sense to think about the consequences of what I was publishing before I published it.  That I was whining and complaining about my life.  That my husband is one of the few lucky ones to get paid to play a child’s game. That I haven’t the slightest clue as to what the word “sacrifice” means.  That by referring to Mr. Sometimes league as “SEMI-Pro” I was being degrading, rude, insulting and uneducated.  That I needed to just get a thicker skin, deal with the scrutiny that comes with his job, get over the criticism of him and his teammates and deal with it.  I’ve never really had my character picked apart like that, I was unprepared for what I was going to feel.  It was like watching a car wreck.  I felt sick and disgusted and kind of blindsided but I couldn’t stop reading.  I read all the way to the end.  Every. Single. Comment.  It was awful.
I thought long and hard about what I would respond with, or if I would respond at all.  It’s been my experience (and that of my sweet, amazing girlfriend who has dealt with her fair share of criticism when it comes to her husband, and yes, she cautioned me NOT to respond) that you can try to justify your feelings with these people, but it will get you nowhere. You can argue back and forth with them but you will never win, they can’t seem to be able to see past the end of their noses. They thrive on ignorance and misinformation.  Hiding behind handles and anonymity or screen names. They could be ripping you apart online one minute and then see you on the concourse of the civic center and smile and shout “Hey, Mrs. Wray!”. SO, I wavered, back and forth, on whether or not I would write a response.  Obviously, you can see that the devil on my shoulder won out in that little exchange.  But I’m not doing this for them, I’m doing this for me.  Because it will make me feel better and that’s what my blog is all about.  I’m going to address a few issues and then be done with it.  The Negative Nancies can do with that, whatever they want.  I’ll be done with it once it’s out.  And I’ll move on.  For good. SO, Buckle-up! This one is a one-way trip.  I’m not even going to look in the rear-view mirror.
For starters, Mr. Sometimes (and any other hockey player in this league, the American League, the East Coast League and on) would never be offended by my reference to their leagues as “Semi-Pro”.  When he fills out any kind of paperwork that asks about his employment, this is exactly what he writes “Semi Profession Hockey Player”.  So, if I’m ignorant, offensive and uneducated for writing that, I guess he is too.  Someone should let him know to quit it, for fear of insulting anyone not playing in the NHL.
You may have read my blog and found me to be a spoiled hockey wife, griping about all the attention that my husband isn’t getting, begging for people to like him, whining about pay (even though that wasn’t even mentioned in my blog and neither was tearing down any of his former teammates).  That is not the case.  He is the Captain of this team, has been for 3 straight seasons.  He does his job well, he is a phenomenal Captain to his squad. They respect him and he has quite the following here in town. So it’s not about whining about popularity. Let me put it this way, so maybe it’ll sink in (but don’t worry, I’m not going to hold my breath).  You are at your husband’s/wife’s work gathering, get together, dinner party (or whatever it is that non-hockey people do) and you overhear several people talking about the promotion coming up or so-and-so is moving up the ranks quickly and you know what? your spouse just isn’t quite cutting it right now, productivity is down, and they think someone else would do a better job.  Would this upset you? Would this make you sad and/or angry? Try listening to it for 6 or 7 mos out of the year, season after season.  It grates on your nerves a little bit. It starts to get under your skin.  Believe me, after 13 years in the stands, I have become a professional tongue biter (maybe, SEMI-professional… considering I let an opinion slip) but that particular day, I had had enough.  I was not trashing any one player who is no longer here (there are lots of players who aren’t here either by choice or by circumstance) so, while it’s so easy to say that I was pointing a finger at ONE player is just an assumption made. Just because you assume it, doesn’t make it true.  And because you assumed, we’re, both of us, now asses.
I talk about sacrifices that we’ve made. Of course, on a grand scale, most would find these to be trivial and minuscule.  Probably stupid even.  But, something not taken into account, they are sacrifices to us.  They are directly proportionate to our life. I am not, nor would I ever compare my self to the military wives or doctors wives or what have you.  My sacrifices might seem small to you, but they are not so small to us. I don’t judge you on your ideals and perceptions, so why belittle mine? I am not asking for a pity party or recognition for all that I do on my own as a mother or two. There are lots of women (and men) who parent mostly on their own because of their spouse’s employment. I’m not looking for accolades or a friggin’ hero biscuit. I was simply stating a fact.
Jobs, no matter what, are harder and harder to come by.  I  know there are lots of people (hockey and non-hockey) that don’t have jobs.  I recognize how lucky we are that my husband has a job- and I DID, INFACT say this,  But in all your accusations of “if he’s not happy, he should just get another job” try to see it this way.  Our life is contingent on his performance on the ice. Just as your life is contingent on your job. If Mr. Sometimes doesn’t play well, produce, perform, we don’t have a house, food, clothes.  If you don’t perform to your employer’s expectations, neither do you. The difference is this;  He can not go and stand in the unemployment line.  He can not sit at the table, perusing the classifieds over coffee. He can not just apply for jobs at will.  If he does not perform, we pack up our house, we pull our kids from the school they’ve been in for 4 years now and leave Rapid.  But it doesn’t stop there.  We leave the country.  Our ENTIRE life here depends on his job.  So, you see, while your speculation on “why complain when, at least, he’s got a job?” seems pretty valid (and it’s been recognized now, feel better?) you can see why a wife would get twitchy about people who hint at wanting him replaced.  If  you want to assume that all he has to worry about is lacing up his skates and working for a couple of hours on the weekend and not getting hurt, go ahead and keep your head in the clouds.  You ASSUME that, aside from a loss (and this was one of the most disturbing comments because that’s the worst thing that can happen aside from getting hurt) there can’t possibly be any stress in what these guys do? So, injury might be stressful, but temporary.  How about the guys who, by the time they’re in their mid-20′s, have bodies that are riddled with arthritis and hobble around like old men for days after a game or, worse even, have career-enders? Or how about a hit thrown wrong that results in a broken neck or paralysis? Or how about the staggering statistics of  Post-Concussion Syndrom and how many of those cases can be linked to ALS in the future? Or Dementia and Alzheimers? But, I forgot, there’s no stress.  I’m not saying his job is more stressful than anyone else’s.  Again, it’s all relative.  We all make choices about our careers and there are always going to be risks that come along with those choices.  I don’t downplay yours because I don’t live it.  Why is it so easy to downplay his?
At the risk of tooting my own horn, I am anything BUT a coward.  I wrote everything  I put on that post (and any other post that I write) with truth and an open heart.  I wrote as a wife and friend who was sad and angry for a husband and his players.  I posted the link to my blog on Facebook and Twitter, like I always do and someone then shared it on Message Boards and Forums a plenty.  It was not an anonymous post.  I didn’t hide behind a handle or a screen name, I signed off with my name (all 3, in fact, “Shanna Leigh Wray”) and didn’t bat an eye.  Everyone is entitled to their opinion.  Everyone is allowed to say what they think and how they feel, right? But it seems that rule only stands true when it’s what someone might want to hear.  That’s quite a shame.
I am thankful for ALL of the fans (even the ones with crummy attitudes who wouldn’t know real hockey if the puck hit them in the face). I’m a smart girl.  I know your tickets help generate the funds that provide Mr. Sometimes with his paycheck.  This might have not been apparent with my last post, but so much of that was taken (REALLY, SO FAR) out of context.  Asking that you support the team that you have does not translate to “You’re all stupid and suck and the worst fans and I don’t appreciate you, because we’re here and I want you to feel sorry for us and like us or I might cry and throw a fit” or even “The guys who aren’t here aren’t here and they’re awful people and awful hockey players and how dare you even want them back?”.  There is always the want for your team to be better. I  know what the effect a fresh body in the dressing room and on the bench can have on the dynamics between the players on and off the ice.  Believe me, no one knows this better than the ones who are directly related, their lives invested, in and to the players that you all support (either whole-heartedly or fair-weatherly).  Sometimes, though, it’s just really hard to have to listen to negative comments, degrading remarks and such, when it pertains to the ones you love.  No one wants to hear that.  And while I know it comes with whatever weird celebrity status these guys have here in town, it doesn’t make it any easier to have to listen to.   A wife is perfectly entitled to the way she feels and she’s damn sure allowed to blog about it if she wants.
-Whether she’s married to Scott Wray, the town’s leading surgeon, the D.A or Tony, friggin, Romo.

**Yes, Someone actually wondered if Tony Romo’s wife feels the same when he’s being ripped to shreds by news reporters.  I’d bet any wife (or husband) worth her (or his) salt would feel terrible when hearing people negatively criticize their spouse.  I’d worry that there was something wrong if she/he didn’t.  Just because they aren’t heard saying it or they don’t write about it on a blog, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t happen.

1 comment:

  1. She's got a point. We don't know what goes on from the spouse perspective. Maybe people need to be reminded to look at it from everyone's perspective..not just their own. Kudos to her for writing, posting & signing it.