It's pretty common knowledge around here that the we love the Detroit Red Wings. They've spent the last 2 decades being the most successful franchise in the NHL, and that has resulted in them gaining a large following. Now, every fanbase has a few bad apples, but by and large we're a good group.
However, despite the success of the team on the ice and good-naturedness of the fans, there are some out there who don't hold the Wings in the same regard as we do. While I'm naturally shocked at this development, it's a sad fact of life that some people are so misguided that they can't see how truly awesome the Wings are, and rather than embrace and accept the Wings and their fans, they choose to lash out in what can only be an attempt to make Wing fans believe that the team we love is not perfect.
One such individual has spent a lot of time saying some pretty harsh things on the internet, and today he made a statement that literally made me laugh out loud. Want to know who that person was and what he said? Follow the jump to find out.
The person in question is a gentleman named Ryan Lambert. Perhaps you've heard of him; writer for Puck Daddy and tweeter extraordinaire. Today, it was "You Know You're a Wings fan if...." day on Twitter, and as with every other day the NHL has run this little promotion, you had fans of the team declaring their love and non-fans trying to be funny. I'll admit that I've joined in poking a little fun at other teams, but today it was the Wings and naturally I was interested in seeing how witty people could me.
Mr. Lambert took the oppotunity to have some fun at the Wings' expense, especially since this involved the fans, not the team itself. He tweeted his little heart out this morning, no doubt enjoying a little chuckle as he threw out barb after barb. For those that have any familiarity with him, you'll recognize most of the jokes as recycled from his past columns about the Wings, specifically the Eulogy he wrote this past offseason.
Some people are very passionate about the Wings, and most people only have so much patience with a guy that is blatantly disrespecting their fellow fans. These people, such as On the Wings author Matt Saler, choose to engage Mr Lambert in a respectful discussion, and sometimes he will respond in an attempt to explain why he feels the way he does. Today, he tweeted this little gem about the Wings, and I'll admit, even this one made me a little mad:
Now, far be it from me to question a man as wise and intelligent as Ryan Lambert, but I seem to recall the Wings being a pretty benevolent franchise. So I did some research, and it's amazing what I found. It turns out that the Wings have actually done some good in the world, and we "morons" are actually smart for loving this team.
For example, did you know that the Joey Kocur and the Wings' alumni have held a charity softball game
3 years in a row? Several former Wing players were on hand to play a fun game of softball with local fire and police departments in an effort to raise money for such places as the Whaley Children's Center, Wings of Mercy East Michigan and Team Kendals Kidz. A great event that I know a few fans have attended.
The Wings themselves host a charity poker tournament
, where gamblers could put their money where their mouths are and play a poker game against a Wings player while helping the Detroit Red Wings Foundation. The Wings' Wish Club allows people who attend the game to have a special wish broadcast on the Jumbotron, with proceeds going to the Children's Hospital of Michigan. Per the Wings' website
, since its inception in 1995, the Wings have raised more than $259,000 for the hospital.
Now, I hear what you're saying: all professional sports teams donate their money and their time to various local charities. It's called "giving back" to their communities, and the Wings are no different than any other team in North America. What makes the Wings so damn special, you ask?
I guess the reason that this sort of thing bothered me was because of the inference that nothing associated with the Wings has ever done anything "good", on or off the ice. Now, the history books will speak of the success the Wings have had on the ice, but what about off? Their charitable efforts are there for anyone to see.
However, a big reason why Wing fans are the best around can be found in something that occurred about a year and a half ago. In early 2010, a Wing blogger who lives in Brazil admitted that he had never been to a game. I won't get in to all the details about what happened, but the 19 at A2Y decided that no Wing fan should ever be denied seeing a game live at the Joe, no matter where they lived. So, donations were taken up and Herm was brought to Detroit to see his beloved Wings in action. Seriously, how many other fanbases would do that? Not only did they raise enough to get him here, but the generosity of the 19 and beyond was so great that there was too much money. Not bad for a bunch of unemployed bums from Detroit. The excess money was donated to the Children's Hospital of Michigan: a whopping $5,804.11 total. All that because Wing fans determined that one man should have the opportuinity to see the team and players he loves so much.
So, after being such a success last year, what did Wing fans do? Why that's right: they did it all over again, only on a much bigger scale. Unfortunately, Herm was unable to make it, but Wing fans once again did the right thing, and thanks to the efforts to many people, $13,134.03 was raised for the Children's Hospital. I won't lie: the fact Wing fans have raised just over $19K in 2 years for children is pretty damn awesome.
So, the next time you encounter Ryan Lambert, and he tells you that Wing fans are not as cracked up as they seem to be, rest easy in knowing that Wing fans are indeed good people, smile politely, and walk away with your held high, secure in knowing that you cheer for the best team in the world.