Last night, for the second time in the last four years. The Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley cup. This, to many, may seem like just another end of a season for yet another sport. And they would be right. But to people like me, and to all the Hawks fans it is much different.
Hockey for me is one step a way from a religion. Playing hockey my whole life, and then coaching for five years tends to make one realize that superstitions, just like in any religion.....are real.
For years I made sure I sat in the same seat in the locker room at home, I taped my stick the same way hundreds of times in a borderline manic fashion. I always put my left skate on first, but tied it last. While coaching I never walked across the ice before a game, for over 200 games.
These things seem weird and worthless to some. But what they mean, where they come from is simple. They come from a place that makes perfect sense. When you do something, and win, you might as well do it again.
It might be a little sad to admit. But being a fan is no different. For almost the whole 2009 playoffs I watched the games on one certain recliner in my living room, rotating between 3 different Hawks jerseys. I spent more time on that recliner simply because the Hawks won games when I did. And I did not want to mess that up.
This season, I was not able to watch the beginning of the regular season. And as we all know, the Hawks did amazing. But instead of trying to watch any game I could, I refused. I never watched, and they won. If watching meant that they might loose, I did not want any part of it. This playoff season was no different.
One of the best parts about the end of the Stanley Cup is when the coaches FINALLY tell everyone EXACTLY what injuries their players were playing with. About 10 minutes after the cup was passed around the info started coming out.
Patrice Bergeron of the Bruins was playing with a broken rib, dislocated shoulder and "cartilage damage". Marion Hossa of the Blackhawks was playing with a back injury injury that would make the toughest person stay in bed. Jonathan Towes was hit so hard he sat a period but played the next day. Brian Bickell played with a grade 2 knee sprain, a knee sprain, with hockey skates! Andrew Shaw of the Hawks looked like he just came back from falling down Everest, Especially after taking a puck to the face.......Just flash back to 2009 when Duncan Keith took a puck the the mouth, lost over 4 teeth, and came back to play in little over 5 MINUTES!
Which makes me wonder. Why? Why this sport? Why these guys? Why are hockey players like this? Yes, I am wondering why in every professional sport shown on TV players act like glass. Why does every other athlete play until their future "might" be jeopardized with an injury. But in this sport, players play with injuries other athletes other athletes would loose entire seasons for...........This sport.
Thank you to my best friends who received a consistent and constant barrage of texts over the last 3 months. I could not have done it without you guys.
These images were taken from the 2009 Stanley Cup parade in Chicago. For those of you unfamiliar with the Stanley cup. It contains every team and the name of every player on that team that was ever strong enough to raise it above their heads.
It is the only trophy like it in all of sports.........immortality.