Sunday, June 14, 2009
So, yeah, I think this is why I love sports.
I've been asking myself for years why I enjoy sports so much... Why do I follow the same teams religiously? Why do I put so much time and effort into watching any and every game I can? I usually find myself asking these questions after one of my favorite teams loses. WVU football and basketball are gut-wrenching. The Pirates gave me the worst sports loss I've ever been a part of and then continued to lose for the next seventeen years. The Steelers had playoff loss after playoff loss in the 90s and early 2000s. Reggie Miller and my Indiana Pacers never won a championship, but were oh so close 5 or 6 times. And the Penguins.... oh, the Penguins... they won back-to-back championships in 1991 and 1992 under Mario's reign. However, at that time in my life, I didn't even know what a hockey puck was. I started following hockey in 1993. :/
That brings me to the point of this rambling post. Friday night was game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the evil Detroit Red Wings and my good guys, the Pittsburgh Penguins. It was for all the marbles. Win or lose, the playoffs are over. The game was in Detroit. Prior to this game, the Red Wings were 11-1 during the playoffs in Detroit. The Penguins were outscored 11-2 in Detroit and hadn't managed to pull off a victory there the entire series. And oh yeah, there's game 5 of this series where the Penguins were beaten 5-0 in Detroit. So, needless to say, I wasn't confident about this game 7.
The Penguins scored 2 goals in the second period. Both came from the rough and tough Maxime Talbot. They took that 2 goal lead into the third period. I kept telling my wife and 2 friends we watched the game with, "That isn't enough! We need a third goal." I wasn't convinced two goals would get the job done. However, to my delight, I was wrong. The Red Wings added a goal late in the third period to make things extremely interesting over the last 3 minutes, but the Penguins prevailed and won the Stanley Cup.
We've watched 21 of the 23 Penguin playoff games this season. It's been a long journey, but this year, it was rewarding. Watching the final seconds tick off the clock in game 7 was one of the best moments I've experienced since becoming a sports fan. After losing to the Red Wings in last year's Stanley Cup Finals and beating all expectations this year by winning a game 7 in Washington and Detroit makes it even sweeter.
This, my friends, is why I'm a sports fan. The lows make the highs so much better. The highs don't occur as much as the lows, but when they do, I'm pretty certain there's nothing in sports that beats that feeling. So, sit back, chill out and watch the video posted above. Maybe you can catch a little of that feeling as well.