Toto, I'm pretty sure we're not in Cleveland anymore. Yesterday I got to do something that I've never had the chance to do in my entire life - attend a parade to celebrate a home team winning a sports championship.
Hockey is my favorite sport. It has been for, well for a long time. Let's just say I celebrated my 25 year reunion for college, and I've liked hockey longer than I've been an alum. So understandably the fact that we were moving to an NHL city 6 years ago was a pretty big deal. During those 6 years the Penguins have been good. They've made it into the playoffs each year, but then they've kind of fizzled.
But hey, I'm a native Clevelander! A team that CONSISTENTLY makes the playoffs each year, even if they don't go very far? I can sort of live with that. But still it's sad when the season moves on and your team isn't in it, even if you did go farther than other teams. Eventually you begin to wonder if maybe you brought "the curse" or "the jinx" with you and somehow this is as good as it will get.
This year really wasn't looking so great though. By mid December the team wasn't really doing so well, 15-10-3, isn't going to get you very far. A coaching change was made and it was like there was a new team on the ice! Granted there kind of was, with injuries and bringing up baby Pens from the farm team to fill their spots, but the baby Pens stepped up and by March they went 12-4-0 for the month.
And that is when the glimmer of hope starts. The glimmer that you're afraid to mention out loud, because if you say it out loud or even think it too hard, it will slip away. But secretly you wonder, "Will this be THE year? The year MY team hoists Lord Stanley's cup overhead?" And with each game, each round of the playoffs, you begin to hope just a little more.
But still, you brace yourself for whatever the hockey equivalent of "Red Right 88" is (no comments from anyone about a certain collegiate team that blew a 2 goal lead with one minute to go to lose the NCAA championship). And before long, there are only two games left in the Stanley Cup final!!! Two stinking games and your team only needs to win ONE of them to win the Cup!
And guess what??? THEY DO IT!!!! No jinx, no curse, no surprise loss after a comfortable lead, nothing. Just a win. A win that is so amazing, so awesome that you sit in your living room watching this team that you love take their turns skating around with the Cup overhead and you are crying. Real tears, crying. Because you're now part of a city that has a championship team, in a sport that you love above all other sports.
And there's going to be a PARADE! A parade that will allow you, your husband, and 399,998 of your closest friends, (because lets face it for that moment we're all friends), to thank this team for all of their hard, hard work, for bringing home what is arguably the toughest trophy to win in major league sports.
Thank you Penguins ... can we do this again next year?