Saturday, April 24, 2010

Choosing Hope

Sports are funny, aren't they?  In any other area of life, I would feel pretty ridiculous swinging back and forth so wildly from one emotion to another, but in sports I think a lot of people do that.  Honestly, I think that's a little bit of the appeal of being a sports fan.  Those who don't like or appreciate sports don't get it, but it's kind of awesome.  We spend almost every hour of the day tempering our emotions, trying to stay on an even keel because that's the socially acceptable way of doing things.  When it comes to sports, hey, let it rip.  The devastation I felt on Wednesday night when Miroslav Satan scored that OT goal was as real as anything I've felt.  The empty disappointment and doubt I felt Thursday and most of the Friday was real too, though hope had started to creep in a tiny bit by the end of the work day on Friday.  I meant every word of the last post I wrote.  Which is why it's crazy that after Friday's game I'm suddenly full of joy and optimism.  I feel completely rejuvenated!  Ordinarily I'd think I'm a total sucker, but I'm just going to chalk it up to life as a sports fan especially when your team is full of a bunch of talented but inconsistent little brats.  That's right, it's all their fault.

Things I liked about last night's game: Derek Roy and Jason Pominville combining for a very nice goal, Mike Grier leading the way and shrugging off a puck to the head, the Sabres finally giving a pretty good effort for 60 minutes, the Bruins finally looking like the average team that they are, Tyler Ennis buzzing everywhere and scoring one of the most deserved empty netters ever, Paul Gaustad taking a little chop at Zdeno Chara, Cody McCormick and Craig Rivet piling in to help when Chara fought back, Ryan skating in and dropping the gloves, Patrick Lalime's postgame dance, and of course, Ryan Miller's kicking pornstatche.  (I spent a lot of time debating this today and the other Sabre I'd most like to see in a pornstache is Toni Lydman.)  Game 5 finally looked like what I anticipated the whole series looking like

In the end it's Ryan that really gives me the most hope though.  He's been fine in this series overall, but with the exception of the first overtime in Game 4 he hasn't been RYAN MILLER.  He hasn't been the goalie who can steal a game.  When he skated out to the scrum and then threw his blocker or glove (I can't remember which it was) down on the ice, I thought, "Yes!  There he is!"  That's our guy.  That's the guy who has led with his attitude all season, really for the last three years.  If that guy shows up in Game 6, forget it, it's over. 

So for the next 48 hours or so I'm going to embrace the words of Andy Dufresne, "Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things.  And no good thing ever dies."  So here's to hope.  It's a lot more fun than disappointment.


Mark B said...

Even though I have that Buffalo fan defense mechanism thing going on right now ("Don't want to get my hopes up"), I am cautiously optimistic. We've taken back some of the momentum of the series and if we win in Boston, we'll be in really good shape to win the series.

And if the Ryan Miller we knew during the regular season suddenly returns, Boston could be in real trouble!

I loved your comment about the Bruins being an average team. That's the most maddening thing abou this series - I think we're a much better team than them.

S.A.M. said...

Great post, Heather! I agree with you. I wrote a post about hope yesterday before the game... and was happy that I still had something to hope for AFTER the game too.

I think there's something to be said for a fanbase like Buffalo who are constantly in a state of "Almost but Not Quite" (our un-official motto) that makes us almost afraid to believe, but when given a reason, we go ALL OUT.

That's what I saw last night as I exited the arena. People dancing in the streets, just pouring out of the arena and high-fiving, jumping up and down, cheering like crazy, horns honking, music blaring- it was like we won a game 7 or something. This was a game that DECIDED nothing. It gave us new life and a chance to win the series but wow. I just kept saying "if it's like this now, can you imagine if they ever won the Cup? The city would shut down for a month."

But I think that you can go two ways. You can say "oh we always get burned" and hold back the emotion so as not to be let down again. Or you can go all out and deal with the crash when it (almost inevitably) occurs. I prefer that method and it seems that you do too.

Let's Go Buffalo! :)

Caroline said...

"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things. And no good thing ever dies."

One of my favorite quotes ever!