A Fanbase That Made Me Feel Like a King

It started with a Facebook message, of all things.

Having written informal hockey articles on the platform’s then-Notes app, I received a message from someone I had never spoken to before. This individual — let’s call him HPM — had written to tell me about a startup sports social media company that he had helped form. While a part of me was excited, a bigger part of me was reticent.

With all due respect to HPM, I was always wary of these types of messages. I did, however, give him the benefit of the doubt and heard him out. That’s when he asked if I’d like to write about my favourite hockey team, the NHL’s Los Angeles Kings.

Photo by Luca Micheli on Unsplash

I was already going to school for comedy writing and thought, if nothing else, this opportunity would help expand my skills and confidence as a writer. Plus, I had watched every Kings game up to that point in the season despite being three hours ahead in Toronto. So, what started out as a quick article or two per week turned into an everyday thing.

I started out writing game-by-game previews and recaps mixed in with a few opinion pieces. Not too long after, I opened a Facebook account dedicated to my site, which was called “Make Way for the Kings”.

Only a few years earlier, I watched Kings game thinking how great it would be to connect with fans from beyond, especially California. Thanks to social media, that ultimately became a reality.

Image credit: Chris Thomas (Instagram: @MVP_Chris1)

In the years since, I’ve made some friends, many acquaintances and even met a few so-called haters. Overall, though, it was an amazing experience because, for the first time, I wasn’t judged on my stuttering. Instead, fans saw me for my personality, my intelligence and, of course, my talent as a writer.

Not everyone was a fan of my writing or even me but many more were, and so many appreciated me for what I was. Few, if any, weren’t thrown off that I stuttered. Heck, few wouldn’t have even known about my stutter had I not mentioned it. Even when I met fans in person, regardless if they knew I had a stutter or not, didn’t care that I did. Even if I couldn’t get a word out, they were patient, and I loved them for it. In their eyes, I had established myself so much as not only a talented writer but, among other things, a funny guy who loves the Golden Girls (oh, and the Kings), so whatever impediment I had was neither here nor there.

While I am confident that I would have been welcomed as a part of any fanbase, I am confident — albeit a little biased — in saying that the Los Angeles Kings have the best fans in hockey.

They saw me for what I am and what I contribute and loved me for it — stutter and all — and for that, I am forever grateful.


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