Lets Support What’s Actually Here Instead Of Fighting Over What Might Be Here [OPINION]
The last few weeks have been a strange one in the Ark-La-Tex. While the thought of hosting an NBA G-League team affiliated with the Pelicans sounds nice, the entire argument for (or against) the team has got me irked.
It's all I see on Facebook, friends and strangers arguing why they believe this team should come to town, or shouldn't. The argument of tax-payer's dollars going to a new "sports complex" vs. going to the infrastructure of our city. The argument of will Shreveport support the team or will the community sit idly by while the team drifts into oblivion.
I've seen every argument and read every thread of ever comment section.
This entire thing makes my blood boil.
Right off the bat it's worth pointing out that the G-League team coming to Shreveport is FAR from a sure thing. Yes, it's true that Shreveport landed on the short list of possible locations, and yes our city has proposed a $25 million proposal to build a new sports complex, but nothing has been written or confirmed that should lead anyone to think Shreveport is the favorite. This is all just a thought, and that thought might symbolize hope for some or despair for others, but no matter which side you're on, we should all be able to agree that this is purely a thought and far from a tangible reality.
Instead of recognizing this thought as exactly that, our community is going to war with each other over a team that might not come, and an arena that might not be built.
The part that I really don't understand is how some in our community remain oblivious to the Shreveport Mudbugs. You know, the semi-professional hockey team that made it's name in Shreveport, then Bossier City for nearly 15 years. The team who stayed in this community through the ups and downs of our economy, held together through the years by pure love for Mudbugs Hockey in the Ark-La-Tex. Of course, I'm sure you all know the story. Like the Battlewings and Captains before, the Mudbugs finally closed their zamboni entrance for good following the 2011 season. It's also worth noting that the Mudbugs won the CHL's championship, the Ray Miron President's Cup that season.
In 2015, a group of LOCAL investors came together to bring the Mudbugs back to Shreveport. This deal was so much more than just Mudbugs hockey. The move meant that the historic Hirsch Coliseum would get the multi-million dollar facelift it desperately needed. Making the Hirsch something our community could be proud of once again was only one aspect. The Hirsch almost immediately began holding public ice skating nights routinely throughout the week, giving our community something new and fun to do with their free time.
This is when I bring up Mudbugs Hockey actually returning, right? Wrong, they weren't done quite yet.
This new, renovated Hirsch gave our community youth hockey, something families in our community would have a hard time finding within a reasonable driving distance. Also, this newly renovated arena also became home to the East Texas Baptist University hockey program.
Then, in the Fall of 2016, the Mudbugs made their triumphant return to newly named George's Pond at the Hirsch Coliseum. The community came out in droves all season long to support their Mudbugs, who were on their way to finishing second place in the South division, capping an impressive inaugural season in the NAHL. The Mudbugs finished 2nd when it came to league-wide attendance. They were also named Organization of the Year in the NAHL, beating out the other 23 teams in the league.
My point is simple. We can spend our time fighting over a team that might not come, and an arena that may never be built, or we can support what we have.
We can complain about tax dollars going to a "sports complex" instead of fixing roads and building dog parks, or we can spend our own, hard-earned cash supporting a team that has been an integral part of our community for over 15 years and will remain for years to come.
The Mudbugs are here, their arena is built, and they would love your support.