: Pre-Game Talk:
2011 Stanley Cup Playoffs -Round 1- (5) Nashville Predators 4 vs (4) Anaheim Ducks 2
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04-13-2011, 02:34 PM
Join Date: Apr 2010
Stop! Look around. Take it all in. As major sports fans, our position right now as Pred fans is utopian. We rode the rollercoaster of a regular season, finished middle of the playoff pack, and are on the brink of Game 1.
Today is a day like no other. Tomorrow, and for everyday after today, we’ll be grinding over the previous game. The mistakes, the highlights, the there-he-goes-agains will fill these Boards, as they should. But today, right now, it’s pure bliss. This position is the sweet spot for any fan of any major sport. Making the Playoffs. A 7 month investment of your fandom life fulfilled. An accomplishment that can’t be taken away. That you can’t lose. It’s the bliss of experiencing the finite success of making the playoffs, without beginning to experience the gut-busted process of losing in the playoffs.
Today, 16 teams and their fans are winners. 14 teams are losers. It’s over for them. Dreams crushed with no more tomorrows. No more checking the “percentage chance of making the playoffs website”. Its 0%. Blues fans may believe they’re better than the Preds but, objectively based on the standings and the opportunity to win the Stanly Cup this year, they are not.
Reality Bites. Two months from now, only one team will win. 15 teams will lose. Vegas says Preds have a 25-1 shot. That means they will likely not win the Cup, and we will be posting on this Board exactly why we didn’t win. We will join the previous 14 as ultimate losers.
However, since only one team can win, the REAL accomplishment, the gold standard for major sport teams and their fans, is MAKING THE PLAYOFFS. Do that consistently (say …. 6 out of the last 7 years), and we fans are rewarded for our patronage over 7 months with the accomplishment of making the Sweet 16, and the opportunity to make some hay toward the Cup. And who knows, somebody has to win the Cup, why not us.
So, soak it in. Bask in the joy of going to the Dance. Resist the urge to be so worried about losing; you miss the fun of the fight. Pred303 talked about waking up this morning with butterflies. I will bet you thousands of Pred fans experienced the same feeling. Why? Because it feels so good right now (accomplishment of making it on top of the anticipation of Game 1), we don’t want the good feeling to end. Since we’ve had 5 one-and-done’s, it’s all we know. We’re terrified to face the reality of a 6th. It shatters our dreams and makes it more difficult to recover and believe it could ever be any different.
Fear not. No matter what happens, the joy of “winning the regular season” by making the playoffs is the longest lasting love affair you can have in sports. A 7 month battle you win! That is in the bank and sustains us going forward. Many will respond: this is “settling”. “One-and-Done’s” are unacceptable. Why bother caring all year if you’re destined for a “One-and-Done”? I hear you. But we just experienced 7 months of great drama. Many of our lives over those 7 months may not have been rosy away from the rink. Maybe the connection and victory of successfully completing the marathon of the regular season brought us joy when other parts of our lives didn’t. It was the constant friend that sustained you. Losing in the Playoffs doesn’t change that. There is an eerie uniqueness about being a Pred fan. Our personal connection to this team, and the pride we feel, is unmatched. It’s to the point where we’ve transcended being spectators. We believe we influence the outcome. Everything from Standing O’s to unmatched socks on game days, we don’t just watch this team, we ARE this team. It’s why we fall so hard when it’s over. They didn’t lose, WE lost.
Remember how you felt right after Game 5 ended last year. We watched the unthinkable on a 2-by-2 screen box in the bottom corner of our TVs as tornados swirled around us and we gave up the puck and a goal shorthanded in the last minute with the lead! How could we ever care again? How could we ever trust this team again with our fragile psyches?
But here we are, stronger than ever. Playing a team we beat 3 out of 4 times this year. As healthy at playoff time as we’ve ever been. With a fan base that put 1200 more fannies in the seats each game this year over last year. With a local ownership group kicking butt so we’re no longer the NHL whipping boy for relocations. 7 hours from face-off. And all we have to do is do what we did for years in practice: Shot pucks past Dan Ellis!!!!
Stop! Smile. It’s a beautiful feeling. Don’t drown it out with pessimism yet. There is ample time for that over the next few weeks.
I Like It, I Love it, I want some more of it.
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