The Stanley Cup Finals begin tonight, and Kerry Trotter will be watching with bated breath. Read on to see why it's time to look beyond the scarred faces, and experience the sport for the beating, spiritual heart within.
I grew up in a hockey house.
While Chicagoland homes of the 1990s were held hostage by the Chicago Bulls’ easy brand of fandom, our home was not-so-quietly standing vigil for the most sacred time of the hockey year.
The Stanley Cup playoffs.
The Chicago Blackhawks were my team (tough stuff for most of that decade), but we were equal opportunity fans when it came to the playoffs. Often we weren’t privy to seeing our chosen organization even make the cut, and while disappointing, it really didn’t matter. The teams that advanced were often irrelevant. It was the style of play and the allegory of the struggle that made the Stanley Cup worth watching.
Many a May evening was spent in my parents’ darkened den, my father, brother and I screaming at the TV, nervously laughing at miraculous saves and tense power plays, running out of the room when the clock ran down perilously close to a win (or loss), and fighting back tears when Lord Stanley’s Cup was hoisted high above all those bearded, bloodied, toothless faces.
And I wasn’t speaking in hyperbole about the “sacred” thing. All that work in order to drink from a cup? We're treading on familiar ground here...