Okay, so, I’m a hockey guy. More than any other sport — heck, more than just about any other pastime at all — I obsess about hockey. I play, I coach & teach, and I watch & study…a lot. And, yes, I am one of those annoying nerds who can (and will) recite stats and records from years and decades past.
So, what does all of that hockey knowledge and obsession tell me right now?
This year is freaking weird.
No, honestly: you have a first year expansion team — freaking Vegas! — one game away from the Stanley Cup finals. You have another sunbelt team, Tampa this time, also well on their way. Crap, I can already hear all of Canada looking up the number for the nearest psychologist if we end up with a Cup finals between teams from two cities that don’t actually believe “snow” is a real thing.
But that’s not all. Not by a long shot.
The Hockey World Championships are going on right now, too. Now, if you’re a hockey fan, you would assume the finals of that tournament would be Canada versus, well, one of three or four “powers” — take your pick between the US, Russia, the Czechs and the Finns.
And you’d be wrong. Oh so very wrong…
The Swedes are playing the Swiss in the gold medal game — The SWISS, for God’s sake!
Hell, most of my countrymen assume those two peoples & countries are actually the same damned thing, anyway — if they know where they are at all.
“Wait, why does that country get to have two teams?” one patron asks.
“They’re not the same,” the bartender answers. “Sweden is up north, Switzerland is next to Austria.”
“Oh, you mean they’re from New Zealand…”
Welcome to the US.
And poor Canada…they’re not just looking up that phone number, they’re out the door and halfway to the clinic by now. Me, on the other hand, I’m actually enjoying the crap out of this. Like most Americans, I love a good underdog. I love watching those who “have no chance” ignore that particular memo, offer up a defiant finger, and set about upsetting every single applecart in the sports world.
That is, in fact, why we play…and why we find so much drama and inspiration in sports. That’s one reason why a player like Kurt Warner is universally popular, while Tom Brady is…err…not. Or, in hockey terms, why a guy like Martin St. Louis is such a huge source of inspiration and admiration over someone like Sidney Crosby.
I’m still laughing about the whole thing, by the way.
Oh, and…Go Vegas!