Saturday, May 12, 2012

Proud to be a fan...

Yesterday, as I was leaving the office my boss asked if I was going to NYC for game 7. I told him no, as much as it would have be awesome I would be watching it at home with my family.  The trip, while may have been amazing, we just couldn't afford another weekend up North.

He smiled and added that he understood then turned and said. 'Besides it would be a shame to go all the way up there, to spend the money and all that time only to walk away empty handed, with nothing.' He laughed as if he knew something I didn't.

I wonder when he became a Ranger fan. Then again, this was the same boss that informed me he couldn't wish us luck since we were playing Boston....

I sat behind that desk in my cube as I watched him head back down the hall way retreating to his comfy office while his words lingered. Losing game 7 was never an option in my head. Yes I knew in reality and in truth, there actually was a chance. But in my mind, at that moment it simply wasn't. We would not walk away empty handed. Not a chance.

But then I thought about this as my afternoon dragged on. What if we did? What if Saturday night's game was the end of our season? Then what?

In past seasons the loss of a series has stung far more than I want to admit. It always seemed as though the expectation to glide right on in through the playoffs was there, and when the team did not live up to this expectation, I was beyond myself.  Yes I was still proud of the boys, proud of my team and was nowhere hanging up my fan card. But losing a series in the fashion that we often did was quite embarrassing at times. There was some dark days after the series loss between my husband and I. Each summer as players came and went I always told myself next year would be different.

It has been like this for the past three years.

And then this season happened. A season that started so high with a 7 game winning streak, of the expectation that we would be the team to be hoisting that cup up in June. To falling apart just as fast. To a firing of a coach, acquiring of a new one. Losing several games, several key players. To questioning whether we even going to make it into the playoffs.  Suddenly that team to beat, was now the team to barely make it in.

And still I was true.  Even after listening to every analyst saying would would be lucky to win won game against Boston.  Game after game I have donned my -t-shirts, jerseys and hats as if I need one more thing to say I am a fan. I have sat there, at the games, in my house watching every second half the time on pins and needles as one by one the games seem to mean that much more. I have watched as Holtby has stepped up to the plate and taken everyone by surprise. I have watched as a team that 'barely' made it into the playoffs suddenly became the team that other teams began to worry about. Each game only seemed to make them stronger. I have been watching this team for long over a decade and have never seen them be the kind of team that I had seen during these series.

Something funny has happened during these playoffs that has been different than any other playoff, while in the past I had been almost ashamed of the way we have played I wanted it to be over for the simple fact I was tired of facing guys like my boss. This year I was proud of them, of staying in the game despite everything that they had going against them. Despite the nay sayers and the odds. I was proud to be a fan.


Twenty four hours later I currently sit in my living room watching game 7. The Rangers already having the lead. Fear, nerves and frustration have already taken a hold of every fiber in my body. I am so not ready for this season to be over. Not by a long shot.

But what if it is?

What if we lose this game? The team schedules golf slots in the morning? Then what?

Well then I will still be extremely proud of them. They have brought us some of the best playoff hockey in two series than any other team. In the past month they have proven themselves over and over and over. They have played with heart, with passion and with more guts than they have in years. They weren't expected to make it past the first series, and here they are in the second round playing a game 7? Well  even if they do lose, that won't make me any less proud to be a fan in the morning.

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