Right now, you may be asking yourself who the hell is Ryan Robinson? Well… Ryan is the guy behind the emotional “Life As An Oilers Fan” video that has been making the rounds of the Oilogosphere in the past few days. If you haven’t watched Ryan’s video, take a few minutes to do that today. After posting this to YouTube on Wednesday, Ryan’s video has already racked up more than 23,000 views. Ryan took a few minutes to sit down with me, and explain what inspired him to speak out via his YouTube page. Here is part of our conversation.
Who is your favourite Oiler (both current and all time)?
My favourite Oiler of all time is (obviously) Ryan Smyth. There are just so many things to like about him. First of all, he has a great name. He is Canadian. He personified hard work and determination. And he is a family man. Just an excellent role model. My favourite player on the current roster would probably be Perron? It’s really difficult to even pick one because I have very little emotional attachment to any of them. It’s not that they are bad players, it’s just that there are no big goals or memorable plays to associate with any of them in an Oilers uniform.
If you could change one thing about the team, what would it be?
If I could change one thing about the team, it would be to instill accountability in the organization from top to bottom. As I said in the video, you can’t fire Katz, so he would have to fire everyone under him and begin replacing them with knowledgeable, experienced hockey people. I’m not saying this out of anger or because I want to see heads roll. I’m saying it because the people who are currently in place are incompetent. And they are also unable to admit when they make a mistake. Bringing in people who are more concerned with their responsibility to the fans than their right to hold a position is the first step in my opinion.
What inspired you to make this video?
I’ve got a group of about five or six people that I usually text with during and after Oilers games. But the last two years, with the Oilers being out of the playoff race by December, the texts become fewer and farther between. I actually had a buddy text me last night and say the Oilers have ruined our relationship because we barely talk without the frequent Oiler discussions anymore. So I’ve basically used my wife as a sound board for my frustrations. My wife doesn’t particularly care about the a Oilers, but she does care about me so she listens to my rants. She’s awesome by the way. So after about 15 months of this I realized that I needed to find a different way to vent. So after some prodding from a coworker, I decided I’d share my feelings through a visual medium since I work in the audio/visual field. I figured it would be a good idea to share a bit of my background so that people could relate to where I was coming from and understand why I see things the way I do. Plus, watching and discussing the classic Oiler moments was kind of therapeutic! I also felt that it would be wise to give my take in a calm, rational manner in order to contrast the insanity that is taking place in and around the Oilers.
What has the response been like?
The response to the video has been overwhelming. I knew I was taking a risk throwing my opinions out into the public forum of social media because there are people who will respond negatively to anything. But it’s been reassuring hearing that so many other fans are feeling the same way as me. The most common response I’ve gotten from people is that it was “Well said,” which was the way I wanted it to come across.
Were you surprised by how quickly it took off?
Robin Brownlee was the first person that I sent the video to. I read OilersNation material quite often and I thought you would all appreciate my point of view. So I give OilersNation most of the credit for how quickly the video has spread. I’m sure you get plenty of people tweeting and emailing you, so I appreciate you taking the time to listen to my opinions.
As someone (like myself) that missed the glory years, what keeps you watching this team even though nothing seems to be going right?
Good question. I guess the Oilers got under my skin at a young age and they’ve stayed there. As I alluded to in the video, I had to do a lot of soul searching when Smyth was dealt. I eventually came to the realization that I was an Oilers fan for life and there was no point in fighting it. They are just too much a part of me. There is no reasonable arguing point to use when trying to defend the Oilers. What makes it most difficult to stick with them is that they go against all my values and principles. I value hard work, integrity and having a solid foundation in life. And the Oilers represents laziness, pride and entitlement. So yeah, it’s tough right now.
I think your video says it all, but if you could describe being an Oilers fan with 1 word what would it be?
Being an Oilers fan right now is torture.
Where can we find you on social media? (Twitter/Instagram)
I’m on twitter and Instagram @ryandlace
I applaud Ryan for using the resources at his disposal to make a video which says what we’re all thinking. The video hit home with me because Ryan and I are relatively close in age, and I also missed the glory years. I have faint memories of the Oilers winning the Cup in 1990, but that’s it. Outside of the Cup run in 2006, I don’t really have many memories of Oilers success. I think Ryan did a great job of pulling the strings of Oilers fans everywhere, and I think he did a great job. Big thanks to Ryan for taking a few minutes to talk to me.