Thursday, May 15, 2014

End of the Line

Two Boston Bruins hockey player, from the Facebook fan page, sharing authorized/fair use claimed, full link below

Greetings All:

Last night, was the end of the line for one team.   The season ended for the Boston Bruins.  I am not a hockey fan.  However, I have a lot of friends who follow the sport.  In my neighborhood and town, many people are cheering that the Chicago Blackhawks won their series and are going onto the next round of the playoffs.  To be honest, it's hard for me to keep track of the playoff schedule as the only thing that is longer in the presidential election cycle.  But I did see that the Bruins were defeated in their best of seven game series with the Montreal Canadians.  Shortly after the game ended, a good friend of mine commented on his disappointment.  He's already looking ahead to next year.

I also see, thanks to our friends at ESPN, that the Indiana Pacers defeated the Washington Wizards, setting up (yet another) showdown with the Miami Heat.  I don't know any Wizards fans, but for those of you lamenting your end of the line, regrets.  Again, there is always next year.

Although I am not a fan of pro hockey or basketball, I do consider myself a fan of other sports, namely baseball, football and especially college football.  I've been known to get a bit...agitated, even loud when my beloved Iowa Hawkeyes are playing.  So while I have no emotional skin in the game regarding Boston's fall, I can understand and relate to the feeling of disappointment. 

I think sports is great.  It's a way to put aside the obligations of work and enjoy some entertainment.  It's also a chance to get together with friends, some you may see only a few times a year.  Although I do not have Iowa season football tickets, I still make it up to a few games a year.  When I do, I almost always end up tailgating with friends I've known from college, now pushing (gulp) 30 years.  My wife and daughters are not sports fans, so family sports outings are not a regular occurrence.  And yet, just tonight, we talked about going to a River Bandits (our local minor league team) game  We've got no "emotional" investment in the team but it's fun to go out to the ballgame and spend way more than you should for a hotdog or ice cream and have fun.

I also think it takes courage to be a sports fan.  Not in the sense of standing with the Spartans at the Hot Gates staring down the Persian Army, but in putting your heart into an endeavor, a cause.  Ask any Cubs fan what it takes to be a fan for that team?  The answer- a lot.  And yet, they still come.  About five years ago I was in Chicago to watch an Iowa game and we went to Wrigley Field for a Cubs game.  It was wonderful!  I even had an Old Style beer, just to remember that I really, really don't like it.  Ah well, when in Rome...

Heartbreak is a certainty if you're a sports fan.  How many (millions?) of Boston Red Sox fans were absolutely euphoric when their team finally won a World Series in 2004.   That was the year when my team, The New York Yankees imploded after being up 3-0 in the best of seven series.  I suppose for some Red Sox fans, winning the actual series was just icing on the cake after disposing of their arch-rivals.  I recall a Red Sox friend of mine saying to me when the Yankees were up 2-0, "It's easy to be a Yankees fan."  He had a point.  Jumping on the bandwagon is always a short leap when the team is winning.

It's great when your team wins.  I recall in the 2005 Capital One Bowl Game when on the final play Iowa defeated LSU.  (I did a blog post on this a few month's back, see "The Catch").  That was a great day.  However, there have been plenty of times my Hawkeyes have come up short.  It's not fun when your team loses.  However, that is life.

I cannot wrap up this post without commenting on the idiots out there who cannot appreciate that this is, after all, a GAME!  It's neither an election or a war.  For some, however, it is the end of the world, or at least close enough to justify property destruction and other acts of mayhem.  Morons, please, go back home, sleep off your bender and wait until next year.  

From the Vancouver Riots after their team lost to Boston ,, sharing authorized via Wikipedia

So here's to all the fans out there who cheer with passion for their team, who accept the pain of a loss AND keep it in perspective.  Here's to those fans who are good sports and respect the fans from the other teams.  (I have a link below about how the Philly Police went undercover in the rival team's colors to deal with any abusive Eagles fans.)  I remember being in college and seeing an Iowa fan say to a visiting fan, "Welcome to Kinnick."  Kinnick being the name of our Stadium, named after our Heisman winner, Nile Kinnick.  I thought that was such a class act.  If more fans were like this, it would be a much better world.  Fans, all fans, could recognize that the end of the line is for this seaon only.  As Colin Powell mused, "It will look better in the morning."  And, I suspect, less cars would end up turned over.

Be well my friends,


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