It started off as a rally, but it's important to remember that when you add food and hot dogs, it's a tailgate. Toss in some BBQ and beer, and screw rallying. No one'll move for 3 hours. This is what's going on on Saturday. It's not a rally, it's a tailgate. Bring signs (I shall), bring beer, bring some street hockey equipment, and bring your jersey. Don't expect to interrupt the Herman Cain rally in the park, but do expect to at least make some noise.
For God's sake, BRING FRIENDS. A small turnout, as I mentioned on SBN Atlanta, will bring ridicule. Of course, any less than the ELEVENTY BILLION PEOPLE that Jets fans had show up 15 years ago for their rally will bring ridicule. Never mind that 15,000 people didn't help save their team then, either. My philosophy with these sorts of things is that you need to air your greviences, show people you care... because when the owners do whatever the hell they want to do for their own interests, it makes them look even worse if they blow off a lot upset people.
That, and did I mention that this is a tailgate? BEER. Come out, get sunburned, and have some fun. But remember, be on good behavior - media'll be there. And not just local media - if they show up at all. I'm talking Associated Press. I'm talking TSN. Possibly the CBC. You know someone from Winnipeg'll be down there if they can afford the 10,000 mile plane fare. We want this to be successful in spite of odds being stacked against us.
Here's my helpful list for a successful tailgate/protest/rally/drunk cryfest:
1. Be nice and don't hate on Canadians.
I know that this one's hard, because a lot of the mockery directed at Thrasher fans is coming from north of the border, but honestly most Canadians are swell people who understand the fact that to grow hockey, it's ok to let other people love the game. That loud contingent of "hockey is CANADA'S SPORT" people is a minority. Just about every Canadian I've spoken to regarding our situation feels terrible. Don't wate good will.
2. Wear your Thrashers swag, and be obnoxious with it.
It's toasty for jerseys, but wear them with shorts and Thrash flip-flops. Emphasize the fact that we're not currently hovering around freezing. Actually, it's supposed to be 89 freaking degrees out Saturday. EIGHTY NINE.
3. Be angry, but be clean.
Profane slogans, chants, and signs'll be caught on camera. So don't be that way.
4. Don't just bring hotdogs and hamburgers.
Let's give Carolina a run for their money. BBQ, specialty burgers, sausages... make a run for the Farmer's Market or Trader Joe's first. Snag some awesome, mouth watering food to make the people in colder environments jealous that they can't do what we can.
5. Suck up to Canadians by drinking their beer.
No, just kidding. Since most Canadians consider Molson and Coors their version of our Bud and Miller, about the only Canadian beer that's widely available that's acceptable is Moosehead. Just bring some good beer. The more the merrier.
6. If approached by someone from the AP/TSN/CBC/Free Press, be intelligent, be calm, and don't say anything that'll come back to haunt you.
What you do on camera can haunt you forever anyway, but if you do something stupid on a TV broadcast while representing the group, it's like 10 times worse for everyone. Don't be that guy.
7. If you have street hockey equipment, bring it.
It's the gulch. Plenty of room to play. Just be careful with in-line skates, because we all know that place is paved for shit.
8. Clever signs are better.
Some of you guys are sign masters (Virginia, I am so looking at you). Picasso or not, good natured sarcasm's always a winner.
9. If you're a native Atlantan, and someone from the news media talks to you, emphasize the fact that you're actually from here.
Apparently natives of this city are as common as the Lorax, so imagine a native Atlantan who likes hockey! Brains'll asplode.
10. If you're from somewhere else, really talk up why you love the Thrashers. Very useful if you're from another market.
Nothing's better than someone saying "I'm originally a ______ fan, but I love the Thrashers now because of _______." If you've turned on your home team, that'd be gravy.
11. If you're Canadian, and love the Thrashers more than your native team, make reference to that as much as possible.
Imagine the hilarity!
12. Try not to make fun of Winnipeg.
Keep in mind that these people want hockey as much as you do, and they're sensitive because they've had a team taken from them (like we have before). Not all of them are loudmouth asshats, so be nice. The minority is not indicative of the majority.
13. Get as many people as you know wedged into your car and show the heck up.
Goes without saying. The more the merrier and hey - have we mentioned the beer?