Saturday, June 8, 2013

Eight Days in June

Like most of my sports-themed posts, this is not actually about sports.  So, if hockey's not your thing, no sweat.  But, hockey is my thing.  Sort of amazingly.  It's done for me what nothing else has.  I've told the story before, so I'll spare a reiteration.  I was once on a band wagon fan, admittedly, but now I lead the band. And I wanted my team to win back the Stanley Cup like you just wouldn't believe...

...because the last time they did was on June 12, 2009.  I sat in my living room in Round Rock, Texas and happily watched it, bathed in the glory of being a fan of the Super Bowl Champion Steelers and now the Stanley Cup Champion Penguins.  Eight days later my world would shatter and all of that joy would be forgotten and extinguished.  I don't remember the Penguins hoisting the banner at the beginning of the next season and that's really bothered me.  Maybe I watched in on TV, surely it was a nationally televised game, but if I did, I was so numb to it that I have no memory of it at all.  Maybe I just didn't care.  Of course, I wasn't around for any parades or Cup appearances.  I missed out on all of the fanfare of being the fan of champions.  And I wanted it.  As pressures mount in other areas of my life, I became convinced I needed it.  Eight days in June became a mantra.  I wanted revenge almost for only having eight short days to savor the taste of being on top.  I almost felt like it was owed to me, not by my team, but by Fate who so cruelly took it away back in 2009.

If that all seems selfish, I am guilty as charged.  I'm not candy coating anything, I'm telling you the way I felt and the way it is.  This morning I carefully took down my banner, flags and yard signs, lovingly folded them and tucked them away for another season.  Boston will be playing for the Cup, not us.  And here I am, without a crutch in the world to lean on.  This is a low moment.

And, so, Dear Reader, this is moral to the story:  I've vacillated in this blog so many times about using outside interests like sports to get past dark days, cautioning that you still have to do the work of grief recovery, but championing (if you will) using whatever you have to get you through to the next day and the next until you don't need it anymore.  But, I think I've always stood on the side of having at some point to really process the emotions without any distractions, which depending upon a sports team for your happiness definitely qualifies.  Problem with all of that is that I've not practiced what I've preached.

So now, how do I do that?  I think I get stripped away from it.  Like taking a bottle from an alcoholic.  I've struggled so mightily to find a reason why this is happening.  But, I know the truth of the matter is there's no mystical power at work bringing down an entire franchise just to punish me.  It's just the way it is.  And I also know that, for as badly as I wanted this, there is someone in Boston who wanted the Bruins to advance just as badly as I did my Pens and for maybe similar reasons.  Whom are the Fates supposed to favor anyway in a case like that?  But, with all of that, maybe I really needed to be taken down to my very core and have to stand alone against all the pressures and problems I'm currently facing and just figure out a way to deal with them.   Maybe if I come through this I'll be so much stronger for it.  One way or the other, I guess I'm about to find out.

As I braced myself earlier in the week for the possibility of this moment, I kept telling myself that win or lose, the sun will still come up just the same.  But, this morning the sun is hidden behind a wall of chilly grey - so even Mother Nature seems to be in mourning, it's not just me.  Well, Mother Nature, let's both cheer up because things aren't changing even if we don't, so we might as well.  What do you say we start following baseball maybe?

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