If you check out my personal Facebook page, you will quickly learn a few things about me. I have a wonderful family. I’m a little bit overly obsessed with my doggies. And I love my Tampa Bay Lightning. Social media has certainly become a fixture in our society and has undoubtedly impacted our lives to some degree. Perhaps one of the lesser talked-about impacts is how social media can contribute to a sports team’s fan base. The Bolts are an excellent example of a team whose Facebook support has enhanced the fan experience.
Growing our Community
The Lightning fan base is truly a community. We are bonded together over a love of hockey in the sunshine state. The Bolts have the longest home game sellout crowd streak in the NHL today. But the Bolt love is not limited to the Tampa Bay area. Social media has allowed for a phenomenon commonly known as “being the distant thunder” as people from all across the world can join together on Facebook to show their Lightning love. Facebook fan groups delight in people displaying their team pride from other cities, states, and even far-away countries. Whether fans are here in the Tampa Bay area, away on vacation, or even living across the world, Facebook groups allow us all to continue to be a part of the Lightning family. We’ve been able to grow our community without limitations of distance.
Also, fans new to the game have been able to find forums to ask their questions and expand their knowledge. Facebook groups are open to all levels of fans. From “newbies” to the seasoned veterans. From those who are still learning the basic rules of the game to those whose brains are jam-packed with every statistic one could imagine!
Sharing our Talents
Additionally, we’ve been able to grow our community of personal friends and network with new people. Fans across the NHL world became familiar with the famous “Bathroom Becky” during the playoffs last season. Becky and her family noted how well the Bolts seemed to do any time she visited a certain bathroom at Amalie Arena. She pointed this out in the “Lightning Strikes” Facebook group, and was quickly elevated to celebrity status as her record of success amazed us all. She was interviewed by television and radio crews, even including a Colorado channel! Members of the Facebook group would check in before key moments in the game to make sure that “Bathroom Becky” was appropriately positioned. Fans at the games would go over to her particular bathroom to take a selfie with Becky. Without social media, no one would have known about the Bolts’ not-so-secret weapon last year.
There are other members of Lightning fan groups with special talents, too. We learn about bakers who look for inspiration regarding what Bolt-themed goodies they can bake before each game. And because of our Facebook groups, people are able to share their traditions with the community, uniting us all in our love for our boys in blue.
Sharing News, Highlights, and Information
There used to be a time when hockey fans had to wait until the next day’s newspaper came out to get the inside scoop on what was happening with their team. Now, social media keeps us all informed as things happen. Facebook groups will share highlights, videos and insights throughout the games. As much as we love our Lightning, occasionally life gets in the way and we have to miss a game. But thanks to the Facebook groups out there, missing the odd game does not have to mean missing out on any special Bolt moments.
This past summer, I got a dream opportunity. One of Tampa Bay’s top Lightning writers, Dan Herrejon, posted in some of the bigger Facebook groups. He informed the groups that he had been named the new VP and Editor in Chief at The Scrum Sports, and as such, was looking for new writers to join his team. I, along with several others contacted Dan, and we are now proud and enthusiastic members of The Scrum team! It truly feels like I’m living out a childhood dream- getting to cover games and write about my favorite hockey team.
Hockey is the most exciting game there is. That’s just a fact. And the Bolts are an amazing organization. Simply watching the games and cheering on the Lightning is a great experience on its own. But getting engaged in social media groups can truly enhance that experience. It grows the fan base, brings us closer together, keeps us informed, and sometimes, even leads to dream opportunities! So, whether it is Lightning Strikes (where I just saw an adorable picture of Victor Hedman and his dog)… Thunder Nation (where there is a great picture of a smiling Nick Perbix holding his game-winning-goal puck)… or any of the other groups out there, I encourage you to get engaged! And of course, for the best experience, always follow us at The Scrum Sports for post-game recaps, in-depth information, and insightful articles!
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