Angry Alexis: Lightning Fans’ Inferiority Complex Needs To Stop

by Alexis Boucher | Posted on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Amalie Arena Plaza ABoucherYou may have noticed that there haven’t been that many Angry Alexis columns so far this season. The truth is it’s difficult to work up quality rage when your team is playing well enough to be at the top of the league. This has absolutely nothing to do with the product on the ice and a lot to do with the fans in the stands. (Photo/Alexis Boucher)

After sweeping the season series with the Rangers last night a lot of people shared screen shots of the Bolts’ position in the standings (including me). That’s great. The comments…“and they say hockey doesn’t work in Florida” that accompanied them? Not so much. The Lightning aren’t a fledgling expansion team anymore and fans need to stop acting like they are.

This is the 22nd year of the Lightning’s existence. There have been more than a few growing pains but they have matured. Yes, Tampa Bay is a non-traditional market. Mainstream hockey media may not pay as much attention to what happens in the Sunshine State but the same could be said for a lot of other hockey clubs. There are 30 teams and only so much TV time available. It’s better as it is. The Toronto Maple Leafs get a ton of attention from the media and look at what a circus that can be.

There seems to be a huge preoccupation with needing the media’s approval to validate what is happening here. Fans of some of the NHL’s elite teams don’t have this complex but Lightning fandom is rife with it. When does that stop? Right now some fans’ knee jerk reactions is to make an issue of geography. They would be better served tapping into some of the swagger that the team has on the ice. They keep working and keep winning. Yeah they’re in Florida. They’re also at the top of the standings.

The facts are there. The Lightning have a great young team that has the potential to be good for a long time. They have management that has carefully crafted a great team and revamped their minor league system. There is a great owner at the helm who is active in the building and the community. They are experiencing success that is unmatched by other professional teams in the Tampa Bay region. Instead of constantly looking for approval from media and fans up north we should be confident in what we have.

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Alexis Boucher
About the Author

Managing Editor and Senior Writer Alexis Boucher is a transplant from the Northeast, who worships in the churches of hockey and baseball. She has followed the Lightning since the late 90's. A graduate of the Florida State University Creative Writing program, she has been blogging for over three years. She has a penchant for loud music, enforcers, and good beer.

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  1. Big Kahuna says:

    Been waiting for this column from someone. Bolts fans are so amateurish. Act like you’ve been there before. Great read.

    • Alexis Boucher Alexis Boucher says:

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting.

      I know it’s been a while but the Lightning HAVE been there before. With how the team is constructed they’ll be there again. Winning will make everyone pay attention!

  2. ITMAN says:

    “Inferiority Complex” is pretty harsh. I agree with most of what you wrote though.

  3. Jake says:

    Good piece and I agree with your opinion. We need to act like we belong and ignore the trolls.

    • Alexis Boucher Alexis Boucher says:

      There are always going to be those out there who try to trash the Lightning because of where they’re located. Instead of getting their feathers ruffled, more fans need to brush it off. We have great weather AND a great hockey team. They should be jealous!

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  4. Brooke says:

    Besides disregarding the fact that the media tends to disregard our team, I’d love it if Bolts fans expressed a little more confidence overall. Now, I completely GET not wanting to jinx your team by claiming victory before it occurs, and no one really wants to look like an arrogant fan, but man, oh, man, I do get tired of the naysayers predicting doom and gloom before every game. “We’re going to lose this one.” “Time for a losing streak,” etc. Imagine if our players had that same mentality!

    While I fully understand being realistic and have no issue with fans pointing out areas that need improvement, I think some fans really need to dump the leftover baggage from previous poor seasons and embrace what we have now – which is something a lot of other clubs are very envious of right now. The team are winners. How about if the fans act like winners too?

    • Alexis Boucher Alexis Boucher says:

      First of all: you’re awesome. Thank you for taking the time to leave such a great comment.

      The sky really is the limit for the Lightning at this point. We’ve spent so long looking to the past during bad seasons that many fans seem to have missed the fact that the future is here right now. And it’s kicking butt. I’m having a tremendous amount of fun watching the Lightning this year. I want everyone to enjoy it that much.

      • Brooke says:

        Right there with you on that. I feel that we as longtime fans have earned our fun, now that it’s been presented so beautifully to us by everyone from Vinik down through Yzerman, Coop, and all the boys. They all certainly seem to be enjoying this season, and I plan to kick up my heels right along with them. Good times! This is shaping up to be the sort of season that players and fans look back on years later with great fondness.

        • Alexis Boucher Alexis Boucher says:

          Absolutely. I moved to Tampa in ’08 and have had a season ticket the following year. I’ve been a fan longer so there have been some serious lean times. This group is something very special and we need to enjoy it. Long time fans know this doesn’t happen everyday.

  5. Ethan says:

    I’d also point out that our team draws well. Except for a dip in the late ’00s, Lightning attendance hovers around the top 10-15 averages in the league.

    Sure our tickets are cheap. But we don’t make as much money either.

    I’d argue too that we don’t entertain as many “guest fans” as we used to either.

    Good article.

    • Alexis Boucher Alexis Boucher says:

      Thanks for reading, Ethan!

      You’re right on the attendance. I moved to Tampa and became a season ticket holder around 2008 when the team was in the basement of the league. Even then they got good crowds. During the economic downturn where many teams saw attendance fall things have stayed pretty consistent.

      It depends on the visiting team re: visiting fans. It would be great for more Lightning fans to keep their tickets instead of selling them for some of those games, but what can you do?

  6. Malapraxis says:

    You know, some may argue that posting a screenshot of the standings after a November win over the Rangers is the epitome of an inferiority complex and the utter need to be recognized and accepted by others. Then again it could simply be an overenthusiastic premature exhibition of elation based on the game result.
    What I don’t understand is how that relates to an inferiority complex in the stands. There will always be moronic members of the original 6 fanbase posting about the travesty that is hockey in Florida. And that anger typically manifests itself after the Bolts whipped up on their beloved heroes or after they just shoveled 3 feet of snow from their driveways, but do they really merit a response. I, like you, have attended every home game and I see a fanbase that is loyal, enthusiastic, and knowledgeable. I don’t know where this inferiority complex in the stands comes in but you are free to explain.
    Having a good amount of fans from the opposition in the stands is also simply a byproduct of Florida being populated by transplants who are loathed to switch away from their childhood hero allegiances. I did with the Bolts, but you would never catch me rooting for the Bucs or Rays against the Giants or Yankees.( Never a Ranger fan but damn I idolized The Hammer, Hound, Moose, and the rest of the Broad Street Bullies). I’ve had some fun interactions with these outsiders and I have no problem with them coming to the Arena, I just hope it gets harder and harder for them to find an available ticket, and that is born more out of apathy than inferiority. But the longer we stay at the top and work the way we have those available tickets will be scooped up by the locals coming to see the excitement that is Lightning Hockey !.

    • Alexis Boucher Alexis Boucher says:

      There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being proud with how your team is doing. Shoot, I am insanely proud of the Lightning. A lot of the things I saw was taking it to another level.

      This is purely my opinion but the inferiority complex comes in with many fans being so vocal to point out the success the Lightning are enjoying. Everyone can see where they are. Loudly drawing attention to it just seems amateurish.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

  7. Tony V says:

    You couldn’t bee more wrong IMO. The showing of standings is nothing but pride in the Bolts. Just as the Lightning are your team, they are also my team and that’s my way of taking pride in what they’ve become. I don’t have an inferiority complex, I just love MY team. You can’t tell me how to show my Bolts pride. I’ve read every article on LightningShout, including all of yours. This is the first one I’ve totally disagreed with and that’s ok. A difference in opinion is what makes the world go ’round!

    • Alexis Boucher Alexis Boucher says:

      Hey, I posted a picture of the standings after Monday’s game myself. My reaction was “Hey that looks nice”. Many others went the route of “They said hockey in Florida would never work! Ha ha Northerners!”

      Hockey has worked in Tampa. It’s been pretty widely recognized in recent years. Going the geography route seems like an “Oh, we’re going to show them!” chip on the shoulder. The Bolts are here and successful. They don’t have to prove anything to anyone.

      Hey, no worries! We’re allowed to have differences of opinion. One of the great things about blogs like this is being able to have an open dialogue. Thanks so much for reading!

  8. Malapraxis says:

    All seriousness aside, in terms of acting like one belongs, can someone on the lightning teach Brett Connolly a proper non Stanley cup final goal celebration. The bearhug he put on poor Andre Sustr after a 25 yard sprint to center ice was the final straw. I think TJ should take him aside , teach him that you simply raise your right arm do a couple helmet taps with the likes of Kuch and Palat and get ready for the next one.

  9. Jon says:

    The media should divert attention from the disaster that is the Buccanears and shift it to the Lightning. Tampa needs some positive sports stories. And it doesn’t look like the Rays will bring anything positive come baseball season after losing their management backbone and brain.

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