Thursday, October 7, 2010
Dragons Mania, shire pride, the never ending downward spiral and depression.
The week just gone has been a bad week for Sharks supporters. Hopefully it will be the end of a bad couple of years, but to see our mortal enemies, the merged Dragons suceed while we flounder badly hurts. When the sharks would go bad, it would be some kind of comfort to sit back and watch the dragons implode and choke in the finals. No such luck this year. And it has left me, and many other long time supporters to wonder; when will it end?
What hurts even more is to see our homeland, the Cronulla district FILLED to the brim with support for the Dragons. Certain shops (namely Eloura take away, the shearers cook bakery, and Pauls famous hamburgers) which service the district should hang their head in shame at their outward support of the dragons and have lost this discerning customers ongoing business. Homes were decorated. And the worst was the cars. Scores of cars with dragons flags and streamers proudly waving in the wind. You would think that the sharks didnt exist, and to many of the local residents, they dont.
Now, let me clarify. It is any persons right to support who they want. But if you live in an area that is serviced by a certain team, and if you are a business, you have a moral obligation to support your local product, just as the local community supports you. Dont like it? Move.
So despairing is the situation that long time supporter and mate of mine, Garbz posted the following on the CSSC forum.
This week has convinced me that the Sharks have no future in the Shire. There are more Dragons fans here than Sharks fans; the place has been a sea of red and white all throughout the finals series. Even when we were showing some signs of success back in the Johnny Lang days I don't remember ever seeing so much black, white and blue in the area.
All the NRL would lose by either forcing us to relocate or forcibly taking our license and awarding it to some other region is the support of about 8000 people. The vacuum would very quickly be filled up by the Dragons, who would probably play a couple of games at Woolooware and pull bigger crowds than we ever have anyway.
With that in mind, we have four options:
1. Cling for dear life to our current position in the Shire, pandering to the needs of 8000 or so selfish fans (including myself) and never really amounting to anything until the time eventually arrives when we fall over (not necessarily due to poor management, either.)
2. Fold. Kind of pointless really.
3. Relocate. Probably our best option; it would be a matter of finding a suitable place to move to where the Sharks brand can take off. I'm thinking that a relocation merger with the Perth Reds would be the best option - Western Australia is due for another crack at the top league.
4. Merge. Unfortunately, I don't see any club that would be willing to accept us an equal partner in a merge. I expect this would be more of a take-over and we'd get a token strip of blue on a jersey (if that.) I'm sure the Dragons would be happy to take us over... but I'm not sure how popular that'd be.
Scary stuff. However, I have to disagree with Garbz here. While it is a disconcerting time, I think the following applies with regards to dragons-mania.
- The dragons have one of the biggest fan bases in the NRL. This comes mainly from a few factors : 1)They are essentially 2 teams and cover a huge geographic area.2) Theyre ongoing success in the 60s and 70s engendered an entire generation of support and this was passed on to succeeding generations.
- The dragons have many fair-weather fans who loudly and proudly come out of their holes when times are good. This is the same for any NRL team, but strangely, even more for these guys.
- The shire is essentially a utopian island within festering dragons territory. Some seepage has to be expected.
- The soccer world cup seemed to be the beginning of the car-flag craze. I reckon from now on, whenever there is a big sporting event, we will see much more car decoration than there has been in the past.
Heres the sting. If the sharks were to win minor premierships back to back and then go on to win a gf, I reckon our levels of support would be up there (not quite as good as) the dragons. However, and this is where Garbz negativity comes from, where are these wins going to come from? If we continue to flounder at the bottom of the table, will we be eaten up? I dont know.
The only consolation I can take is that there is a certain purity in supporting a perrenial underdog. Dragons fans felt hard done by that they had to wait 31 years to see success and when it came, they rightfully celebrated. How sweet then, will our victory hour be, when and if it comes.
Keep your chins up and go the Sharkies.