The L.A. sports scene has always been dominated by the purple and gold.
Sure there have been sprinkles of Dodger blue and Clipper Red along the way, but the Los Angeles Lakers have always been the kings of L.A.. But with the Lakers and Clippers exiting the NBA playoffs in the second round, L.A. fans haven't skipped a beat as they have hopped on the bandwagon for the Stanley Cup.
The new kings of Los Angeles have become, well, the Kings. Thanks to the recent success of the eighth seed, so-called "fans" have begun claiming their stake on the hockey team through these NHL playoffs.
Let's take a step back, though. Please.
There's a big difference in being a fan[atic] and a supporter of a team.
What am I?
I might be a huge fan of sports, but I'm far from a hockey fan. I haven't followed the Kings passionately until recently and, as a result, will refer to myself as a supporter of the team. I grew up in Los Angeles, still live in Los Angeles but have always been more of a hoops fan.
Nowadays, as I drive around L.A. and talk to sports fans across the city, I'm growing more and more tired of hearing people say they're huge fans of hockey and have been supporting the Kings since Day 1.
Please, Day 1 can't and doesn't mean a month ago when our Lakers or Clippers started showing signs of early playoff exits. Day 1 can't and doesn't mean last week when we all found out the magical run for Lord Stanley would continue on against the Devils. Staples Center might belong to the Kings now, but how many of you "fans" cared about that while the other L.A. teams were still inhabiting the arena for their playoff run?
There is an obsessed group of people, those who have lived and breathed Kings hockey before this post-season's journey, and it's time us Kings "supporters" understood that.
I have nothing against bandwagon fans.
Incredible sports moments like this breed new fans, and that's completely understandable, but for the first year or two, at least admit that you're merely a supporter of the team because it's your city, and stop preaching around town about the loyalty you have for hockey.
Historically, the team has not been a force in the NHL. Their only Stanley Cup appearance came in 1993 with the help of some guy named Wayne Gretzky who led a team coached by Barry Melrose.
Success in hockey is an unfamiliar territory for L.A. sports fans, and if there's one thing about most people in this town, it's that they hop on and off bandwagons like they're Tigger from Winnie the Pooh.
Or something along those lines.
I want to reiterate that this by no means should push you away from supporting the team, wanting them to win it all and celebrating as a result. Just remember that there have been fans supporting the team since 1980 [that's close to 3,000 games of agony, anguish, (some) joy and finally, some redemption].
So, if you’re new to the Kings like I am, by all means, go support the team! Get some gear, maybe even a jersey to show your friends and family that you're supporting the newest craze in L.A..
Just get a jersey with the name of a current player stitched across the back, instead of someone you probably have never seen skate on the ice. Trust me, between Kopitar, Brown, Quick and Doughty, there are plenty of choices.
One day, your jersey will mature into a "vintage," and people will be able to identify the moment in the team's legacy when you became a fan.
The city of Los Angeles is in full support of the team, but just this once, let's identify ourselves as supporters and believers, while letting those lifelong fans feel the ultimate glory they've waited so long for. And hey, if you're still along for the ride when there's a meaningless regular season game later in December, call yourself a fan then.