27 April 2011

Back to Normal: I can see clearly now, the bandwagon's gone.

Da-da-da, da-da-da, da-da-da, da-da-no damn more.

It's like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders. Things are becoming much more right with the world. It started with about a week left in the regular season, when the Wings locked up the Central. It became a bit more bearable to live in this city. But still, I lived under a bit of a cloud. Hell, I was a die-hard-lifelong-unhealthy-obsessive Wings fan living in Bandwagon Central. Not only that, but a rewarded bandwagon. A group of non-fans who haven't watched a collective 60 minutes of hockey in their lives before 2008, suddenly crowing about their shiny new cup.

It wasn't much fun.

Now, I'm sure if I were mature in any sense of the word, or perhaps if I wasn't a terrible sport, this would not have been so bad. But living here before the Great Flash In The Pan of 2010 was kind of fun. It was by no means a "hockey city" - nobody outside of Madison street cared about hockey. Occasionally, however, there would be a few drunk frat boys in Wrigleyville pretending they cared about baseball so they could have an excuse to throw up in public that would chirp about the Wings.

Oh what joy that was. "Detroit sucks," you say? Well my friend, it sure doesn't seem that way on paper. Hell, at the time we had more Cups in the previous 15 years than the measly little bitch team down 94 had in its 83 year history. We had just been to two consecutive Cup Finals, walked away from one with a big shiny trophy, had won the division year after year, after year, after year, after year - et cetera. The ensuing response that I'd heave back at the over confident little children who donned the racist logo on their chest, was just way too fun.

And then, it happened.

Luck just happened to go the Windy City's way. They built a franchise on early draft pick after early draft pick, all culminating in their one little window of opportunity. Then, luck struck again as Larry Aurie finally got pissed off enough about not having his number hanging in the Joe that he decided to send our entire roster - and half of Grand Rapids - in a veritable conga line to the DMC. Thus, the Wings just couldn't swing it in the post-season for a variety of reasons, and the Hawks had a clear path through the West. Again, luck reared its ugly head and gave them the Flyers - for reasons absolutely no one has been able to determine. Chicago was able to overwhelm the Flyers outstanding goaltending (jokes!) and win a damn championship.

  • In a word: Balls.
Since that fateful moment, life just hasn't been as fun for a poor sport like myself. It doesn't matter how much math I threw back at the Bandwagon - all the division championships, conference championships, President's Trophies and Stanley Cups in the world were no retort to the knuckle dragging bandwagoner's response of "uh deeerr, we got da cup."

As tough as it was to admit it, they were right. I was living in enemy territory. Not only that, but it was home to a team that had objectively out performed my beloved Red Wings and was suddenly full of people who proclaimed themselves fans of the sport. I could offer to explain icing to them as much as I wanted - inside, I knew they held the Right Bauer. Every off-suit Ace in the world couldn't help me. I was stuck.

Until last night.

To be totally honest, I really didn't care what was going to happen last night, going into the game. I knew that no matter what happened, it would be hilarious. Either the wheels would finally fall off of the bandwagon, or the currently most-overrated team in the league would complete one of the biggest chokes in playoff history. Both absurdly funny outcomes. Both completely acceptable.

After the result, however, I found that suddenly the clouds parted and the sun came out. Yes, even at one in the morning. Things were back to the way they should be. Life has returned to normal. The planets have returned to alignment. Todd Bertuzzi paused for a moment while kicking a puppy, to smile - ever so slightly.

  • The Blackhawks are no longer the defending champions. They're just golfers with a bunch of time on their hands.
That'll do. To return to the Euchre analogy, it's a new hand and I'm thinking about going alone. Sure, maybe they'll be able to win a trick with their one-and-done year, but I'm staring at a hand full of trump again and loving it. I'm still in enemy territory, but I'm back to being one of the few people in the city that cares about hockey. By the way, of those few, we're pretty much all Wings fans.

By now, you may be thinking to yourself "wow, this guy is a prick. This entire post is bragging that the Hawks barely failed in one of the biggest comebacks in playoff history? Is he really that much of an immature poor-sport that he's spending this much time gloating about a team losing? A team the Wings didn't even play?"

Yeah. Yeah, I am. But damnit, it feels good. The Wings are back on top of the teams on either side of Michigan Ave - and we're going to continue our march to the top of the league. Because of our first-round strengths, we've had a bit of a hiatus here, but now we get to exact our revenge on Todd's Sharks. No amount of diving will save them this year. The Wings are ready, they're getting healthy, and damnit, they're hungry.

Bring on the fucking fishies.

12 to 12 bitches. Bring it on.

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