(With a general sort of hat tip to PGI)
Researchers from Hempstead University believe that they have answered a mystery that has long flummoxed the sports world: How do Islander fans remain Islander fans?
"Islander fans are probably the most mistreated fans of any sport," the lead researcher said. "20 years of horrible to barely mediocre play, uncertainty about their arena, incompetent or corrupt Nassau politicians making promises that aren't kept -- it's amazing that people continue to root for them."
They believe the answer lies in coping strategies seen in other contexts. "It's really no different than how wives stay in oppressive marriages with emotionally unstable men -- they learn to cope. Islander fans are no different. The Islander fan pines for the days of their early success, the same way a mistreated spouse may look back to a long ago lavish honeymoon or romantic courtship."
According to the study, Islanders fans cope by proceeding through 5 stages:
1. Denial. After some particularly pathetic Islanders news surfaces, fans might react by denying the news outright, saying things like:
"Maybe 'the Islanders organization is like a circus' is a compliment in Slovak culture. Aren't those Eastern Europeans all acrobats or something?"
"Just because Yashin was seen skating at Iceworks...oh, in an Islander jersey with his name printed on it with a C on the front?...um...maybe he's the new mascot and the C stands for...Cookie. Because he loves cookies...".
"When Cappy said that he's going to ‘go with DiPietro because I like his grit’ he probably just meant that DP is going to cook him grits for breakfast this season (with a beard net one hopes)".
However, once the news become irrefutable, fans move to the next stage.
2. Anger. This stage is characterized by angry, incomprehensible online tirades that include frequent use of allcaps employing the names of the team's owner, general manager (or a merger of the two), and mid-size North American cities like Quebec City, Seattle and Saskatoon.
3. Bargaining. After anger subsides, Islander fans will try to convince themselves that the news isn’t bad at all, that somehow that player whose expected arrival in LI fans were touting yesterday as the key to the Isles’ success is actually washed up, toxic in the locker room, obstacles to the progress of “the kids” or is just plan nasty to the elderly. Fans might suggest that “we don't need seating all around the rink, do we?” or “if I leave work at 4:30 PM, and do 150 MPH on the NYS Thruway, I could get to Quebec City by 7:30 PM, right?”
4. Depression. The false hope brought by bargaining will at some point be replaced by depression. During this stage fans may be found reading the #isles twitter feed, the comment sections of other Atlantic team blogs or, even worse, the comment section at islanderpointblank.com. Depression may often develop into psychosis, with fans beginning to consider rooting for the Rangers. Medical help should be contacted immediately if there are any sign of this occurring.
5. Acceptance. At the end, fans come to accept the team’s status as a near cellar dwelling team (better than the Blue jackets, right?) that will excite them once in a while in the midst of a slow and steady (with an emphasis on the slow) with interminable arena issue. Or at least some fans.