Latecomer Hawks fans, here's the score

My fair-weather friends, you have a heavy crash course ahead of you.

Now, some of you who are here today are the most despised kind of fair-weather fan. Unlike Tom, you've never given a flying puck about the Hawks, and you don't now either.

Pure and simple, you're faking it. You know that to survive the next few days in Chicago, you've got to talk the hockey talk.

Meanwhile, a few of you — I have to say it — refuse to fake it. You think all professional sports are a pox on American society.

That's cool. But be careful. Don't launch into that lecture in front of anyone who has had more than two drinks. Not in Chicago. Not this week.

Meanwhile, some of you are genuinely excited. You're the promiscuous ones. Sox. Cubs. Bulls. Whenever any Chicago team makes the playoffs, you're waving the pompoms and crowing to your far-flung friends about how great this town is.

Finally, some of you here with us today are just fatalists: You may as well get interested in hockey because nothing else is going to happen on Facebook for the next week except cute-kitten photos.

And all of you are welcome. But you can't stay here forever. You've got to get back out there, into the frenzy. So before you go, a couple of survival tips.

Show the hard-core fans some deference. Let them know you know they're the reason there's a Hawks team.

And remember, it's "sweater," not "jersey."

Or is it the other way around?