Tag Archives: SportsCenter

Being a Blackhawks Fan in Wisconsin

2 Jun
Chicago Blackhawks

Photo Credit: picturepush.com

I’m not a Chicago fan. I’m a Blackhawks fan.

It wasn’t always this complicated.

Wisconsin born and raised, I didn’t grow up in a hockey family – I never skated. I never watched the games. When hockey highlights showed up on SportsCenter once in a blue moon, it was my cue to get off the couch and make myself a snack. It may as well have been a commercial break.

I honestly couldn’t care less about the sport. I didn’t understand it, and I didn’t want to. I couldn’t comprehend why fully grown men were allowed to drop their gloves and attempt to beat each other to a pulp. What’s the point?

Boxing on ice, I called it.

I never would have foreseen myself becoming a hockey fan, let alone supporting a team from Chicago. I hated hockey without ever giving it a chance. But perhaps I hated Chicago more.

Much more.

When I departed for college, I wanted to make a concerted effort to broaden my horizons, try something new. And boy, did I ever get the opportunity to do so.

During my freshman year, I met a guy down the hall who eventually became one of my best friends. He was from Illinois – a Chicago Blackhawks fan.

Naturally, I was around hockey more and more as the year progressed. It was only fitting that my first experience viewing a full-length hockey game featured a fight between goaltenders, something that rarely happens. But how would I know? I was a novice. More boxing on ice, I thought.

Over time, I learned about the sport.

The NHL All-Star Break was approaching, and I took it upon myself to watch all the festivities, including the Fantasy Draft. One of the alternate captains was Patrick Kane from, you guessed it, the Chicago Blackhawks.

Sure, I had heard of household names like Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin as I scavenged through my house for food with SportsCenter in the background during yesteryear. But Kane was the first player I gravitated toward, the first player I knew. Whenever he played, I wanted to watch.

Initially, I felt out of place cheering for a team from Chicago, but I got over it relatively quickly. After all, I came to the realization that Wisconsin doesn’t have a professional hockey team. We have the Milwaukee Admirals – the AHL affiliate of the Nashville Predators.

Be that as it may, the more I seriously followed the Blackhawks, the more ridicule I received from family, friends and even acquaintances who, quite simply, didn’t understand my point of view. Most of them still don’t.

Coincidentally, the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup the year before, in 2010. Not only was I a “traitor,” I was a “bandwagoner.”

I couldn’t decide which one was worse. It’s just how things worked out.

People know me for my sports prowess, my dedication and passion as a fan. When questioned about my fanhood, that’s not something I take lightly. Someone once asked how I can be a Packers fan and a Blackhawks fan, suggesting I should be ashamed. That nearly drove me over the edge.

Let me be clear: the Packers will always be atop my team totem pole. I don’t have a tattoo of the logo on my chest for nothing.

My support for the Blackhawks in no way reflects how I feel about other Chicago teams, notably the Bears and Cubs.

I find great solace in the fact that the Bears only have one Super Bowl and nine World Championships, as opposed to the Packers’ four and 13, respectively. And no part of me wants to see the “Lovable Losers” at Wrigley Field win their first World Series in more than a century. Thank you, Steve Bartman.

The Bears are to the Packers what the Cubs are to the Brewers.

But what about the Blackhawks?

There’s no hockey rivalry for folks from Wisconsin to get upset about. It’s only a Chicago thing to them.

Yes, I understand the Blackhawks reside in the Windy City, but please save your breath if you plan on telling me how close it is to Milwaukee and everything we hold dear as Wisconsinites. I don’t need a geography lesson.

Chicago is just a city. The Blackhawks are so much more than that.

I fell in love with hockey and the Blackhawks to the point where I wanted to share it with someone, the same way my friend did with me.

I force-fed my old man with more hockey than he could handle until he reluctantly began watching Blackhawks games with me on a regular basis. He was even more dead-set against being a hockey fan than I was at first. But just a few years later, we’re splitting a subscription to NHL GameCenter so we have access to every game.

He sarcastically tells me how he was perfectly happy with the way things were before I introduced him to hockey. He didn’t need the additional stress that comes along with being a Blackhawks fan: the Game 7s, the mad scrambles with an empty net. Yet he thanks me for bringing it all into his life.

Being a Blackhawks fan in Wisconsin is unique – a fraternity of sorts. I’ve come across fellow Blackhawks fans a number of times, but conversations don’t usually take place. We smile, nod and continue on. We already know what it’s about: pride.

For 18 years, I wedged the door shut on something that has increasingly become a huge part of my life. I was close-minded and ignorant – oblivious to the possibilities that have since become a reality.

I’ve been to the Blackhawks Convention, several games, including Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, and even a Stanley Cup victory parade with two million strong; none of them cared about my ties to the Packers or Brewers.

Being a Blackhawks fan in Wisconsin isn’t as sacrilegious as it seems. Open your mind. Give it a chance. There’s no better time than the present.

I never used to have a hockey team. Now I do.

And it’s not a Chicago thing.


SportsCenter’s utilization of social media

23 Apr
SportsCenter Twitter

A screen shot of SportsCenter’s Twitter Account, taken at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 23, 2013.

With the ever-increasing role of social media in today’s society, premiere media outlets are using the new medium as a way to communicate with other users. By linking to content, as well as encouraging conversation, these media outlets maintain relationships with their audiences. What is the most effective way to do so, however?

Twitter has come on strong in the past decade, and media outlets everywhere are discovering how to utilize it effectively.

SportsCenter. a show on ESPN, does a great job finding a happy medium between content and conversation by using Twitter. It has 5,074,524 followers, and that number will only continue to grow. SportsCenter tweets breaking news, game updates, quotes, statistics, etc., and its tweets often include either a hashtag of the latest sports trend or a Twitter handle of a prominent person or organization in sports, making it easier for users to keep up with sports news.

In addition, SportsCenter retweets perspectives and content from its reporters and analysts who also have Twitter accounts, such as NFL analyst Adam Schefter and College Gameday’s Chris Fowler. In doing so, users who follow SportsCenter have easy access to other media members, allowing them to read their content and follow their Twitter feeds as well.

SportsCenter’s Twitter feed is especially helpful by encouraging conversation with its viewers. For example, one of SportsCenter’s tweets reads, “OK, now who’s the best No. 1 overall QB draft pick of all time? Use #TopQBPick to answer; YOUR tweets could air & help rank our Top 5.” To go along with this tweet, SportsCenter has another that asks about the worst quarterback drafted No. 1 overall. After tweeting interactive questions, SportsCenter’s Twitter feed explodes with responses by fans across the country who are hoping for their tweets to be televised.

This is a genius idea regarding the optimization of social media use. It increases the interaction between the every day fan and the big-time media giant. I have had one of my tweets aired on SportsCenter and answered by NFL analyst John Clayton.

“Still nothing from the #Packers in free agency. Will they manage to sign Steven Jackson and/or Greg Jennings? #FanForum”

The anchor mentioned me by name, too. It was a surreal experience. That’s the reason why many SportsCenter followers engage in those opportunities. The thought of having a tweet aired on national television is significant to the average fan.

Perhaps the most-viewed portion of SportsCenter is its Top 10 Plays segment. It uses Twitter to ask fans what they think should be the top play of the day.

Clearly, it is SportsCenter’s goal to use Twitter to increase interaction with fans and lead more people to watch the show on a daily basis. It is an essential aspect of SportsCenter’s strategy, because increased viewership means increased revenue. Overall, SportsCenter is doing a great job accomplishing its goals.

SportsCenter was already a massive media outlet prior to the coming of social media and the digital age. That being said, it will thrive even more if it continues to utilize social media to interact with reporters, players, organizations, and most importantly, sports fans everywhere.

Which media outlet do you believe encompasses the proper use of social media?