The Islanders currently sit at 13-6, good enough for the best start the team has had since the 87/88 season. They currently reside in second place in their division and with a sweep of the Penguins this weekend could move into first place. Their AHL team in Bridgeport has the best record in the eastern conference and doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. You would think with these things in play that Islander fans would be a happy bunch. Unfortunately, more often than not, you would be incorrect. Looking on social media on a given night, you would think that the team is among the worst in the league with the attitude some fans have.
Blue and Orange Army
If you are unfamiliar with the name, they are the group of hardcore fans that stand every game and chant and support the Islanders from the top of section 329. For some reason, they sometimes find themselves as a point of ridicule among fans. For example, in response to a video that was posted recently of the group celebrating after an Islander win some of the responses were, “…Those chants from the 329 folks sound like they were written by children…,” “No need for that here,” and “Scary that many of our fans are wrestling fans, makes us look as unintelligent as Ranger fans.” There are more, these are just a few of the many. While I might not agree with everything the group says/does, it can’t be denied that especially during the lean years of the team recently they were the heart of the Coliseum. Additionally, they have passion for the team coming out of all pores of their body. To me, that sounds like what being a fan is about, not something that they should be ridiculed for. The ridicule they face seems backwards to me as it comes off as fans ridiculing other fans for cheering for the same team.
If you are an Islanders fan on twitter, this is a term you are probably very familiar as even professionals who cover the team use the term. If you happened to be unfamiliar with the term, it is meant to group the fans who take everything to seriously and would make irrational decisions about everything. While at times some fans can get out of control, shouldn’t they simply be ignored rather than ridiculed? I know it is usually easy to ridicule as they often walk right into it, however, it doesn’t make it right. The beauty of the internet is that you are able to pick what you see and what you don’t see. This is especially true for people who refer to themselves as professionals that want to be taken seriously. Taking part in these activities of ridiculing fans of the team you cover in a public forum is the opposite of professionalism.
With this being all about the fans, who better to ask for comment than fans themselves? If you are part of Islander fan groups on Facebook, you probably know Kevin Judge. He is the administrator of the group Bleed Orange and Blue and a huge presence in a couple other groups as well. When asked for comment on this, Judge, 42, from North Carolina said, “…It all boils down to we all bleed orange and blue and should learn to find a middle ground and unite, not act like oil and water.” Meanwhile, Chris Boyce, 29, from Babylon said, “…You want to be a goofy hipster and claim that people are “mindless” or “unoriginal”? Go for it. Why though? Why do that to yourself when you could jump on what could be a really magical ride for the last year at the old barn…” Lastly, Robbie Marschall, 21, from North Bellmore said, “social media is the heart and soul of the emotional isles fan.” He continued, “…Facebook groups and twitter give all sport fans an outlet to express their opinions no matter how crazy they might be.” Chris and Kevin are 100% right, as I will get into more below, this is a time when we should be coming together to embrace the team and its history not fighting like school children. Meanwhile, Robbie is right as well people shouldn’t be ridiculed for using social media the way it is supposed to be used, that is just silly.
Why Can’t We All Get Along?
Islander fans are a crazy group that have been put through more than any professional sport fan base should be put through. We are at a key point in team history as we prepare to leave the Coliseum and move to the Barclays Center. This is a time when fans should be coming together to celebrate the history of the team and the great venue we have called home for over 40 years. Not to mention the team is off to their best start in over two decades. We all as Islander fans want the same thing, why can’t we just root for that instead of ridiculing and mocking each other like we are in high school?