When Alfred Hitchcock’s thriller “Psycho” was released in 1960, theaters were instructed to not seat anyone once the movie had begun. The reason being that the entire movie was based upon pulling the audience in and making them fall in love with Janet Leigh’s character from the very first second. As the movie progresses, the viewers follow her throughout the first half of the story and begin to relate with her…understand her…pity her. Then…just as it appeared that she was going to right the wrong that she had committed…she is brutally murdered in the now-famous shower scene.
To keep the plot of the movie hidden from the public, Hitchcock even went so far as to not allow critics the opportunity to view it in advance…instead making them experience it alongside of those who paid to see it.
Hitchcock believed that the horror of this scene would come not only from the sheer terror of seeing a young woman brutally stabbed to death while in such a vulnerable state…but it would also be made that much more shocking in the minds of those watching if he was successful in creating an emotional bond from the audience towards her. To see her killed after they had invested that much viewing time and coming to “know” her…well, it was almost as if a member of their own family had been cut down in front of their eyes.
This is why he required that viewers see the movie 100% in it’s entirely and disallowed any pre-screens by critics. He did not want the plot to be…spoiled.
Spoiled…as in, ruined or made less than it could be.
We use that word, “spoiled” in other ways in our culture. Another such way is describing how milk or other dairy products have gone bad…and have you ever opened a carton of bad milk and inhaled a whiff of that putrid aroma? Yuck! Worse still…if you have accidentally taken a swig of it. Gawd-almighty…just the thought of it makes me feel like I may have to go kneel in front of the great, white parceling goddess and become a spew-chow monkey!
Yes…spoiled. Meaning, having gone bad…nasty bad.
How many times have we placed that word “spoiled” in front of the word “child”? Uh-huh…if there is one thing that will cause a more sickening sensation in the pit of my gut than the thought of swallowing bad milk, it’s witnessing the actions of a child gone bad.
Bad as in spoiled…spoiled rotten.
If you need a refresher course in bad-parenting 101, simply mosey on out to your local Wal-Mart or Grocery store some weekend…maybe even the mall. Arm yourself with some munchies and soda…grab yourself a seat near the candy or toy isle and you won’t have to wait too long before the show begins.
Sure enough some crumb-cruncher is gonna want something but is gonna be told “no” and… BOOM! Let the wailing and gnashing of teeth begin…at very high decibels as well. But, as sure as hell is hot…the parental unit will capitulate or, if not, the child will gain support from the accompanying second parent or grandparent. Children are smart, ya know…they understand that to get their way all that needs to happen is for the weaker-willed adult to insert the word “just” or “only” into the discussion.
“Oh come on, hon”, they’ll say. “It’s just one cookie”…or “It’s only a $6 toy”. Game over…mission accomplished…the continued appeasement of the spoiled child.
In each case here, the word “spoil” is used in a negative way. However, our Thrashers have taken a derivative of this word and have put a very positive spin on it… positive, that is, if you are a Thrashers fan. And it can be very rotten for opposing teams these days.
That word, of course is…”Spoiler”.
Over the course of the past several weeks, such teams as the Anaheim Ducks, New York Rangers, Los Angeles Kings, Carolina Hurricanes and twice the Montreal Canadiens have faced off against our Thrashers in need of two points and have come away with something less. Last Friday night, the Habs were blanked 2-0 by the Thrashers and their slide from an almost assured playoff spot to something far more precarious continued. Though they currently hold the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference, they are but two points from being out of the playoff picture altogether.
And the Thrashers were all too happy to contribute to their woes.
This Thrashers team has taken the role of spoilers and begun to wear it almost as a badge of honor. They are playing better team defense, attacking the opponent’s goal, scoring at a 4 goals per game clip, skating hard, fighting…and winning…battles and are playing some of the best hockey I have seen come from them in many, many moons.
Since dropping the first three games after the All Star break, Atlanta is 8-6-1 over the past 15 games…. pssst, that’s a winning record kids. During that time, they’re 4-2-1 on the road. Three of those road wins came against teams that, at the time of the game, were in the playoff hunt and/or jostling for position.
The Thrashers had won only nine games at home through the first 28 games at Philips Arena. In the last five… they have won four. In doing so, they have denied much-needed points to the Canes and Habs. They have also worked there way out of the Southeast Division’s basement.
Sunday afternoon, the Northwest Division-leading Calgary Flames came to town and once again had their “homecoming” spoiled by the Thrashers. After the 5-2 beating at the hands of the current NHL franchise in Atlanta, the Flames are now 0-5-1 in their old hometown.
One of the reasons that I’m enjoying the Thrashers play of late is how it compares to the way last year’s team played down the stretch. That bunch completely folded up the tents and phoned it in following the trade deadline. But this year’s team seems to be approaching the situation in a much more professional manner. They know their season will end after 82 games, but they are going to play the remainder of those 82 games with purpose…even if that purpose is simply to try and spoil things and make life rotten for someone else.
Hey…somebody’s gotta do it, right?
Think of it…in a few short weeks we could very well be seeing a team like Montreal, Carolina, Anaheim or the Rangers miss out on post-season play and join the Thrashers in watching them on TV instead. And it may very well be because of two measly little points. Two points that were denied to them by…the Thrashers.
Come on…be honest here. That would put a big, fat, hairy smile on your face too, wouldn’t it? I know it would mine.
Taking a look at the upcoming schedule…there are dates with Montreal and the Rangers again… Pittsburgh, Edmonton, as well as a pair with Buffalo and a pair with Florida. Right there are eight games with teams that are bouncing on playoff bubbles. Wouldn’t ya just love seeing the Thrashers provide the needle needed to bust one or two of ‘em?
And let’s not forget about the Wings coming to town next Friday. Oh, they are oing to make the playoffs alright. But they are currently in a fight with the San Jose Sharks for that top spot out west. A game seven in the conference finals would be very nice to help deprive Detroit of…would it not?
In taking to the role of spoiler in the manner that they have right now, the Thrashers are showing the potential that resides in the crop of youngsters that make up the roster. They give a glimpse of what could be this coming fall and they are providing a reason for the paying customers to continue..or even start… to show up to root them on.
A fan could get…spoiled rotten…watching this kind of play on a regular basis!
Personally, I love this new attitude on display by these Thrashers. Some may find it a little rotten to take such pleasure in adding to the misery of others…but I know I’m not alone. I met Scott and his son Nicholas Sunday and they like it too. Same is true with Kracker. Anne’… a fan of the Thrashers flew all the way in from Finland to watch this team play over the last couple of weeks… she likes it as well. And it was my pleasure to have met them all.
Besides…others have been adding to our misery up until recently and I haven’t felt much sympathy coming our way from them. So for now… I love it!
Again, that may be rotten of me…but God help me, I do love it so!