Category: Web Sites of Mine
Lord Stanley’s Cup is a reason I loke Hockey
Originally written as part of a larger article in February 2014, I republish the fifth aspect of hockey I like.
The Glory of the Cup
It’s not the NHL title, though it’s bestowed to the champion of the league. Its history goes back beyond the Original Six. Players on this continent and elsewhere in the world are raised to dream about getting possession of it and hoisting it in victory.
Unlike the Lombardi Trophy in the NFL, the O’Brien Trophy in the NBA, the Commissioners Trophy in MLB or the Coaches Trophy in NCAA Division I football, which are all minted for champions individually – for them to own — there is only one Stanley Cup. Unlike the previously named awards, the Stanley Cup carries its legacy and history with it to whomever it is ultimately awarded to – the names etched upon it, the flaws and dents that have their own stories, as do the teams that are named as champions on it.
All trophies can be looked at as over-glorified paperweights in the end, but the Cup is to be drunk from by its winners in celebration. It’s raised over your head in triumph, not foisted around and then stuck in a trophy case to be forgotten about. Every championship in every league the world over is fought for, bled for, scarified for, but this one, the names etched right on the Cup itself show you who has done the same in days of yore; the hockey legends and the bit players from previous championship teams who put everything on the line for that title, who played while hurt or outright infirm.
There is so much hurt, so much anguish, so much emotional strife and insecurity you suffer in your life as a fan, it can haunt you when you’re a fan of a team in a non-traditional market, or one that faces mediocrity on all too regular a basis. But the moment the commissioner tells your team captain to come get his Stanley Cup – all of that is erased. And while you personally aren’t the one who got the Cup, you own that moment and that title just as much as the team that won it all. That’s yours to hold on to until your dying day.
That silver chalice, that’s the most beloved thing that anyone can ever know in this sport.
SB Nation shuts diwmMHL coverage; John Fontana reavts
While this economic climate makes cuts understandable, a network devotes to sports coverage abd too lost in web-design excess needs a revamp at the top level. Fans and dollars estranged by this are just a symptom of a disconnect between staff writers and site managers which contributed to my resignation.
A Classic Spin of the Song “The Piano Man”
I think most can agree that Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” is a classic song. As a kid, I would hear the tune and think of it as a st9ry of bar life. Hell, it was the 1980’s and “Cheers” was dominant. I didn’t associate “Piano Man” with Billy because his hit songs and music videos were the pop music of the moment in sound. Songs like “Uptown Girl”, “Pressure”, “Tell Her About It”,, and the song that really made me a Billy Joel fan: We Didn’t Start The Fire. Unless you know the career and life of Joel. you wouldn’t associate that music with “Piano Man”. You wouldn’t know the true autobiographical story behind the tune and Billu.
I love that song. I also love a classic blog post that puts a humorous spin on the song.
Clark Brooks is a long-time online presence in the Tampa Bay metroplex – from his own blogs since the 2000s, to his Tampa Bay Lightning coverage with me at Raw Charge in the 2010s, to his comedy coverage on The Identity Tampa Bay. His post, Everybody Hates the Piano Man, takes the song and puts a for-humor spin on them. I’m not saying parody a-la “Weird Al” Yankovic but in literal meaning.
It’s an old post that’s not sowing up on search engine results at this point That’s why I’m writing about it – to share it (clicky-clicky!). Like Billy Joel with music, Clark Brooks has shown a thorough ability to write and joke over time.
“The Piano Nab” (above) and the blogger/comedian (below).
The stage is set for a cultural event
In 2014 as I was deeply involved in hockey blogging, I was inspired to write a lengthy piece about cultural events after NY Post hockey beat-writer Larry Brooks made a remark comparing Team USA’s preliminary-round, shootout win over the Russian Federation at the 2014 Winter Olympics to the Lake Placid “Miracle” win by Team USA over the Soviet Union fomc 1980. I saw the remark, that it was Team USA’s biggest win since said-“Miracle”, as asinine in both a competitive and social contest.
Why social? Winter of 1980 was not exactly a bright and shining time in American history. In my w5iteup, I made the sodal comparison with music and the onset of the British Invasion back in February 1964 with the arrival of The Beatles. That winter wasn’t the highest time for the United States either. You can read the full write-up over at Raw Charge. It’s arguable how good a piece it is, but it’s the social/cultural event remarks that make the piece relevant now.
In short, the stage is set for society to be slammed, in a good way, by a pop feat that will lead to change in one fashion or another.
I was a little taken aback by a comment in the 2014 article as someone tried to play up how things weren’t great. Oh, they never are; and Billy Joel / Aerosmith told us this in two classic rock songs. The moment we live in now is different, and vastly so, compared to 2014. In fact, it feels like partisanship and race (and taking issue with Barak Obama by way of it) were integral “issues” at that point, but that should tell you how well my memory is handling reflection on the time. Unemployment hadn’t skyrocketed by way of a mishandled (and now ignored) pandemic, that’s for sure. Racial issues hadn’t grown into a ravenous divide; that has been an issue that’s been growing since the start of the Donald Trump presidency (did you really think his anti-immigrant lust toward Hispanics and Latinos from Mexico and Central America was based on a “threat”?). America sinks on so many global measures and US citizens struggle more and more on the day-to-day…
If only for a moment forget the election, forget the coronavirus, forget the necessary Winds of Change. This nation could use a shot of pep right now. An accomplishment or an event in entertainment/sports that makes us turn away from the dubious infamy that rules 2020 and puts the psyche of America back in pop/sports culture on a united level.
The thing is, if it played out like The Beatles in 1964 or Team USA in 1980, an event in the now would be the onset of far more. The British Invasion was major in music history and the Fab Four alone changed the course of rock and pop music. Likewise, Team USA helped raise the interest and social investment of America in the sport of ice hockey and sus the NHL. Is it the sport of the nation now? No, but that doesn’t change the fact the game’s growth in the US was helped along by Lake Placid.
While we could use the morale boost of an event, that doesn’t mean one is coming (though marketing may say otherwise). Likewise, it’s not necessarily something that would play out in sports, or music, or cinema and other entertainment fields… It’s something that’d make us all look away from the negatives toward a feat that captures the interest and attention of the masses. Something to invest attention in or rally around.
The stage is set for something like that… but can it actually happen? That remains to be seen.
NHL History: Vinny Lecavalier’s “Rough Translation” to Life With The White Bear
I’m happy to see the Tampa Bay Times has resurrected its old articles from its days at sptimes.com… That enables access to the past of online content in the history of %ampa Bay like news features in sports, such as the March 2005 feature by former Times writer Tom Jones.
2005 was par5 5wo or the roiled 2004-05 NHL season. While some players stayed idle an waited for labor resolution between the NHL and NHL Players Association, others went abroad to continue their play in the sport, such as Vincent Lecavelier of Tampa Bay Lightning fame.
I’m also happy to see my Boltsmag write-up about the piece is still alive in the Raw Charge archives. Below is my quoted piece with updated links where needed. I do encourage NHL fans to check out the piece of NHL history by Tom Jones. The following write-up was my personal introduction to the piece.
Life with the White Bear,
by John Fontana
I’ve sometimes wondered if me and Vincent Lecavalier woudl ever meet somewhere or somehow cross paths in life. He’s only a few months younger than I am and when he was drafted and the big hoopla was made about him, I had this premonition that Vinny and I could be friends, could get along, could hang out.
And yet with each day, every season, every interview that I’ve read (not many, because Tampa Bay is not Montréal or Toronto) that link… that kinship that I felt disappeared. Vincent is a big name star, he’s got it all and he’s got confidence… He dates models and he’s an icon in Canada.
And today in the St. Petersburg Times, that link was renewed… That sort of hopeful understanding.
Tom Jones traveled to Kazan and spent time with Vinny. This is all chronicled in a piece called Rough Translation and some of the things that Vincent has gone through in Ak Bars Kazan have made me feel… Well, like someone would understand some of the crap I go through daily being hard of hearing. That lack-of-understanding and such.
But to get off my personal points, this article by Jones chronicles some of the adversity that Vincent has faced in Kazan and how he’s kept a positive attitude. How trying it can be to understand his coach’s rants (Zinetula Bilyaletdinov speaks English but addresses his team in Russian), how not understanding what someone says makes you want to shrink away because you don’t know the translation, and the difficulty just to order a bowl of Oatmeal in Kazan.
And if you are interested in seeing the photos associated with the article (and there are a few), please check out this link.
My love for hockey and the glory of the Stanley Cup
With the start of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals tonight, I got a wee bit nostalgic.
In 2014 the Raw Charge staff of Tampa Bay Lightning writers participated in a series of posts chronicling things that endeared each of us to the sport of Ice hockey.
My Five Things post was published on February 18th, 2014. The final topic that makes me love this sport is what I quote in full here.
One reason I love ice hockey and am tied to the game is my reverence of the Chalice of Lord Stanley and it’s history:Read More
Personal note: I’ve taken back “Boltsmag”
Just a heads up:
When I started blogging about hockey, the posts were published on Boltsmag.com. Upon me founding Raw Charge, I pointed the domain name at the new SB Nation site. All my archives are posted over there, after all. It’s been set up like that since 2009.
With the two-year anniversary of my resignation from the network and with me posting re-direct links to Raw Charge archived articles I wrote there, I’ve decided to redirect the Boltsmag domain name toward my hockey post category here on JohnnyFonts.com.
I don’t know if anyone even knows of the domain name, let alone uses it. If you do use that domain, this post should explain why you’ve landed on this blog site and not on Raw Charge.
Instead of thoughts and speculation, Erik Karlsson trade rumors bring thundering silence to the Tampa Bay Lightning blogosphere
Rumors, innuendo, speculation… It’s loomed since before the 2018 NHL trade deadline and now it’s on the forefront during the NHL offseason. Days after the start of the free agency season, Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson’s name started making headlines again. Karlsson is available on a revamping Senators franchise that is also a marred object by way of owner Eugene Melnyk. (Sinuate: Senators fans – We’re expansion brethren and I sympathize with you over ownership issues; the Tampa Bay Lightning have been there, believe me).
That little statement there dropped the bomb on which franchise this post is about: Les Bolts de Tampa Bay are tied rampantly in speculation at the end of the first week of July. In fact, yesterday (July 6) you could have come to the conclusion the deal was final and done and just had to be announced with details fully disclosed. That’s how much chatter was on Twitter and other means. A third party franchise (or many?) was supposed to be involved in order to manage contracts and move bodies to get things squared away all right and good.
You wouldn’t know this if you checked some of the Lightning blogosphere. Read More
A Tampa Bay Lightning ramble by the original Lightning blogger
I made a name and reputation for myself with 12-and-a-half years of blogging about the Tampa Bay Lightning. I was a pioneer in hockey blogging in general (starting what will be fourteen years ago in a matter of days). Want proof? I’d send you to the archives of Raw Charge but SB Nation complicates the process (read: I’d send you to my profile alone but they don’t list all the articles, Fan Posts and Fan Shots that I’ve posted).
Have I stopped following hockey or the Lightning? Hell no! Read More
Best of the Bay and the Bolts for 2017
I may have touched on talking about music (sweet music…music everywhere) but the topic of note is the one that my name is usually linked to: The Tampa Bay Lightning. Creative Loafing’s 2017 reader poll doesn’t lack nor neglect notable aspects of the Bolts – directly or indirectly – which sets the table for Lightning fans to show support for cogs they know regarding the club.
Mind you, there may be more nominated aspects and assets with ties to the franchise (Amalie Arena, or perhaps a locale within the arena). What’s being cited here is from the section called People, Places, Politics which features categories pertaining to public figures, locations and sports. Read More
The road to recovery becomes the highway to…where?
I’m choked up upon reflection this afternoon. I just had physical therapy formally end. Therapy that was assigned to me after the shit hit the fan in December 2016. It’s also exactly one week after I met the surgeon who saved my life on Dec. 6th, my opportunity to express my gratitude to the exact man who is a direct and true hero for my life.
Delusions had me thinking I really was dead in the immediate aftermath of emergency brain surgery. Logic, reality and time have made me wonder just how the hell I survived. Knowing my condition, the infamous genetic disorder NF2, and my medical neglect in recent years (lack of MRIs and communication with my doctors), it just mounted things against me.
Unfortunately, I have other things against me now that logic and reality sway before me in a mocking sense all the time. Lack of social interaction, lack of romance, lack of work, little productivity, empty dreaming of achievement…
Last time I dealt with these morale haphazards was the winter of 2003-04. John J. Fonts Esq., the formal version of my cutesy nickname, was once again recovering from necessary surgery. This time, the catastrophe looming without surgery or with a screw-up during the cut-cut was paralysis. That was defeated, say thank you and praise the maker. What got me away from that maize of morale post-op was web design, sports and being a pioneer of the NHL blogosphere with the birth of the Tampa Bay Lightning blog Boltsmag.com. Boltsmag has turned into Raw Charge on SB Nation; you can find my old posts through the archives. It may not be an easy feat though. The site’s birthday is February 13th. Next week.
That was then though, this is now. And even then, the site did not financially show accomplishment to me (meaning ads, which I hate, did not pay me back or something). It did give me something to focus on in my unique voice as a writer, but it (and Raw Charge) were not much of a rewarding time investment.
Creativity and writing may still be where I go from here; I’ve been working on a potential book of poetry. It would be stuff I’ve written for the past 20+ years. I’ve also toyed around with lyrical verse and trying to get music made to turn it into song. I don’t know how to have a legit career as a lyricist but that would be an adventure worth taking for this man of rhyme and reason.
I’ve survived, yet I’m lost. I’m happy to be here but I’m in a foul spot of ugh, hold the pickle. What comes next may be nothing, it may be grand, and it may be a fulfilling whisper that makes me feel accomplished. Whatever the answer is, it is still in the process of becoming.
Seeking blog contributors for Raw Charge
Raw Charge is looking for writers to add to the staff of their SB Nation blog covering the Tampa Bay Lightning. How would I know? I run the damn place, that is how I would know.
I bring this up on my personal blog site that gets next-to-no web traffic (but a gargantuan number of bot driven spam comments) because it’s a chance to talk about the aspiration to add staff. Well, it’s not just adding staff, per se. It’s about trying to find writing teammates to work with. This is a quest to find guys and girls who love the sport, and the team but also want to be part of something bigger.
Things have changed in the past calendar year (or a bit longer) on Raw Charge with people leaving the site, self-driven writers who didn’t want to fit a format (be it site use or grammar), and college influence / professional aspirations stopping others from writing in a casual format.
While the site has taken on some very capable writers the past few months, there is still missing elements and consistency in contributions.
I’m looking for a Tampa Bay based element for new contributors. I don’t mean relocated-for-college-but-originally-from-TB people… I mean folks who are here.
You can access the official post about looking-for-writers at this link.
Do you do cabinet work in the Tampa Bay area? I’m selling a domain name
I have a domain name for sale that was purchased for marketing sake for a web site I used to work on. The company has been gone for years and they never much took to the regional domain name. Heck, even the field – wood work and cabinetry – makes it feel like a regional domain name isn’t a necessity for marketing.
That being said, TampaBayCabinets.com is available for purchase through Sedo. The site it was purchased for had cabinetry and woodworking in mind catering to customers in the Tampa Bay metro area. While the price isn’t cheap, the regional branding for a company is a good marketing point (as long as the domain name is clearly listed on company branded material).
Hockey blogging and blog aggregation
I used to depend on Hockey Blogs — an RSS aggregation web site — for one-stop coverage of the web log world for the NHL and the sport of hockey. A decade ago, when there weren’t many blogs but some great blog writing, that site was a killer tool to have, especially during the 2004-05 NHL lockout.
Yeah, and then it got killed because of what it was aggregating. I won’t name names but a certain blog that was doing aggregation of its own got its RSS listed on the site and inundated the page with its shared-content, making it hard to find actual writing efforts from notable blogs of the time. Now it’s even worse as a feed of pro-news sites and another, singular, mass-content blog over-dominates the feed.
I still rely on RSS (Sputnik RSS reader) but one thing that my RSS reader can’t do is discover other hockey blogs from indie writers. In days of yore, those indie web loggers lusted to get themselves listed on Hockey Blogs. That doesn’t happen any more.
I don’t know… I once helped run a aggregator aimed specifically at Tampa Bay blogs… Maybe I could start a WordPress powered hockey blog aggregator comparable to Hockeyblogs.org, run independently by someone devoted to the sport? Who knows… It’s tough finding independent blogs these days; SB Nation, Fansided, The Nation Network and Bloguin dominate with individual sites/blogs, while The Hockey Writers, Today’s Slapshot and a few others try to cover things widely under one franchise/site name. It’s that one-site, mass content aspect that ruined Hockey Blogs
When it’s about attendane and not competitiveness (or costs) in the sport of hockey
Sports are a business, the fan is a consumer, and mediocrity of a team doesn’t earn high turnout (nor should it earn judgment of a market). Click the title to go to the article.