The thrill and agony

It looked like a Game 7.  With 90 seconds to go, Boston was winning 2-1 and I’m sure all of New England and most of Chicago was preparing for the deciding game tomorrow night.  Then, in the space of 17 seconds, the Blackhawks scored twice to steal the Cup away from Boston.

“Bucky Fucking Dent” has now been replaced by “David Fucking Bolland.”

“Miracle on Ice” Thirty-three years later.

For a season that almost never happened, the ‘Hawks sure did make it dramatic.  Twenty four games to start the lockout-shortened season without a loss, two Conference playoff series that went seven games, including defeating my Red Wings after trailing 3-1, and perhaps the best, most closely contested Stanley Cup Finals in at least a generation, it seemed destined to end in a Game 7.  But it didn’t. Unbelievable.

And the Bruins played as well as any team I have ever seen in recent memory.  They had their own miracle in the first round when they were faced with elimination against the Make-me-Laughs, er, the Maple Leafs.  (Sorry for the Bob Page moment, folks) This series was as good as any I have ever seen.  Montreal-Chicago, Islanders-Oilers, Wings and Pittsburgh.

But I don’t think i’ve ever seen anything quite like this.  Two goals in 17 seconds, in the last 80 seconds of a Game 7.  To win the game.  Mike Eurzione just got eclipsed.  And Dave Bolland just landed with Bucky Dent, Harry Frazee, Aaron Boone and Bill Buckner in New England sports angst.

The immortal Jim McKay, may no-one ever forget him, once said that sports was “the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat.” In that great opening for “Wide World of Sports”, he also called sports a “human drama of athletic competition.”  He’s right, on all accounts.  But it is also an exercise in a communal gathering, where people who wouldn’t even give another the time of day are drawn together to experience the human drama played out on every level of humanity.

Whether it be the World Series, World Cup, Super Bowl, the Olympics or your local high school team’s biggest game, people gather to watch and live vicariously through winning and losing (or in the case of the local semi-pro football team here in Detroit, losing, losing and more losing).  It draws us together in a way that defies explanation, but hey, it is part of who we are.

One of my favorite things is when there’s a group of Aussies and they all start their “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie Oi, Oi, Oi.” cheer.  It is so joyful and spontaneous.  Sports is the one thing that brings together communities, cities, states and countries.  It is the transcendent constant in our fractured world where thousands, sometimes millions gather to watch the human drama play out our hopes and (for the most part) the best in us.

But enough with the poetic shit. Can you believe that fucking game last night?Image

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One Response to “The thrill and agony”

  1. Andrew K Says:

    Nah, nowhere near as painful as Bucky Bleeping Dent or Billy Bleeping Buckner, or even Aaron Bleeping Boone or David Bleeping Tyree. Those each snatched championships away. This just took a chance to win a championship away.
    Signed, Boston fan since ’63.

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