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It Finally Happened

May 24, 2010

I’m 22. In my lifetime the Chicago Blackhawks have now made it twice to the Stanley Cup Final. There’s one problem though.

I don’t remember the first time they made it. I was four. To make matters worse, the first playoffs I remember occurred the next season.

Now to be fair, this isn’t the first time a team I cared about made it to the Stanley Cup Final. I’m one of those people that splits my allegiances between two teams. I also consider myself a Tampa Bay Lightning fan, yet its not the same.

When the Lightning won the cup it wasn’t the same. I was happy, but the Hawks have always been my team. When I was a little kid playing hockey in the house, I imagined I was a Blackhawk. My first sweater was a red Blackhawks one which still hangs proudly in my closet, although I haven’t been able to fit into it for years. As a kid completely in love with a game, growing up in the Chicagoland area, the Blackhawks were the only thing that mattered.

Even now, when I’m skating by myself I imagine what it would be like to be a Blackhawk. Although I’m a college graduate and supposed to be an adult, last night when I was skating alone I pretended I was on a line with Kane and Toews. The fact I’d be the oldest on that line is a little disconcerting though. Sure it’s lame, but find me a hockey fan in the same situation that doesn’t do that. I doubt a day will come when I stop imagining that, I’ll always be a kid at heart.

Yesterday, I woke up with a feeling.

I have found when I get these feelings, they’re about 70-80% correct. I just knew that the Hawks were going to take the series. I can’t explain why. In fact, I could have given a strong argument explaining why they wouldn’t win yesterday.

Chicago got off to a horrible start. Yet despite all of things against them, Ladd getting injured, Keith losing seven teeth, the early 2-0 deficit, they came back and won.

I love sports because it is a completely unscripted drama unfolding in front of all of us. It’s a play in which even the actors have no idea what is to come. I think that’s why when things end in the manner they did, you know it will stick with you. It was simply poetic to watch a team go down 2-0, only to watch them rally back and win off of a Byfuglien goal. When the Hawks scored to take the lead I wasn’t in shock that it happened, only that Big Buff was the goal scorer. It was too perfect.

When that final horn went off, I felt a smile spread across my face. Finally, I would be able to watch my Hawks play in a Stanley Cup Final. From there I felt myself becoming like a kid again. I got really excited about the handshake line. Explaining to a room of mainly hockey fans why it was such a great thing. Then when Toews went to accept the Campbell Bowl I began screaming, “Don’t touch that goddamn trophy. It’s tradition! Don’t do it!”

For me, it was the something I’ve been waiting for my entire life. I really stopped caring how ridiculous I was acting, I just wanted to enjoy it.

Yet this isn’t the goal, the Cup is. The Hawks are only four wins away, but I’m already ecstatic. I want the Hawks to win, 47 seasons is just too long to go without a championship. But for me, it finally happened. My favorite team is playing for the Stanley Cup.

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