Dreams of Stanley

Of course there are more serious topics to write about (as Philip illustrated in his last entry), and probably even some career-related issues to cover like I normally do here, but when game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final is about to be played, it can be pretty hard to get people’s attention focused on much of anything else.

No matter who you’re cheering for, the idea of playing that one deciding game for the Stanley Cup represents the stuff of most Canadian kids’ dreams. I can vividly recall the street hockey–playing days of my youth: my brother always playing goalie, getting out there with our friends as often as possible (I think there was a year during which we played road hockey almost every school day), my dad yelling at us when he’d see the numerous tennis ball–sized dents in the garage door—yes, those were the days.

Back then it was Gretzky’s, Lemieux’s and Messier’s names on the backs of our jerseys, while kids today are living the same fantasies with the jerseys of Crosby, Ovechkin, Sedin and Stamkos. While I did experience the joy of my favourite hockey team winning several Stanley Cups in my childhood (5, in fact), I don’t really have any clear recollection of those days. I was, after all, only 5 in 1990 when Messier led the Oilers to their 5th championship. Sixteen years later, as the Oilers went on their fairy tale run in the 2006 playoffs, I would nearly have several heart attacks on the road to what can only be described as the most miserable experience a hockey fan can endure: watching your team come within one win of the Stanley Cup, then lose in game 7.

Sigh. Old wounds.

In any case, this year’s final game should be a great one to watch, and I’m predicting it will be tense right up to the very end, given the way the games have been played in Vancouver. Regardless of the outcome, there will be controversy surrounding these 7 games which, for lack of a better word, have online casino been among the most bipolar playoff series I can recall. The on-off goaltending of Luongo, the Bruins’ bully tactics, the numerous injuries and suspensions (or lack thereof) from questionable hits, the biting allegations, finger waving, diving, “tire pumping,” questionable officiating: there’s more than enough cannon fodder there for the media to keep firing for some time. Pretty much the only constant in this series has been the outstanding goaltending of Tim Thomas, and trust me, Canucks fans are very tired of hearing about it.

Whoever wins game 7, there are going to be millions of fans on one side cheering, and millions on the other sulking. To the former, I say savour those moments—you never know if they will be the only time in your life you will get to experience them. To the latter, well, I’ve been there. I don’t quite recall how I managed the pain, but life does go on.

That’s right, life goes on. People go back to their jobs, their classes, their non-hockey lives. Maybe they switch their allegiances to another sports team for the summer, to baseball, football or soccer. But life goes on. Such is the case for fans of the winning team as well, though at least they get a parade to look forward to.

For the moment, let’s just look forward to a good hockey game—hopefully one without any kind of controversy. But if your team loses, don’t sulk for too long.

After all, there’s always next season, and no one can take that optimism from you (however realistic or unrealistic it may be).

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