This particular blog entry may end up being a series of free forms. Forgive me if I cannot tie it all together with a concise point that makes tons of sense.
When I was about 13, my Dad decided he couldn't take the stress of watching the Green Bay Packers disappoint him again. He really loved them, and at some point the love for them became so much that he would actually have me record the game on our first VCR. If they won the game, he would allow himself to watch it later. If they lost, he would try to pretend it never happened.
He had to know the outcome before he could handle the ups and downs of the game. If he knew they were going to win, then he could deal with the stress the game brought him.
I never fully understood the concept until this 2 weeks or so. I would never get to the point my Dad did, because I have to know every detail and every small incident that led to a defeat, but I at least understand his position a bit better.
It's like on one hand you cannot wait until the next Stars' game gets here. And on the other hand, you dread the next game getting here because there is a reasonable chance that it will be another 2 hours and 30 minutes of stress, nerves, and quite possibly having an ending that does not match your wildest dreams.
I wish I didn't like this team so much. I don't mean the Dallas Stars. I mean the 2010-11 Dallas Stars.
I am not totally sure what it is about this 2010-11 team that has made so many of us fall into sports love with them, but I don't believe it would be incorrect for me to confess this is my favorite Stars team since they played at Reunion Arena.
I suppose it is because they are an underdog. And, in many ways, an ignored underdog in their own land. I cannot tell you how many times I think of the movie Major League when I think of this team. A team trying to win in spite of all of the insanity going on in the ownership office and all around them. This is clearly not the template for ideal settings for a Stanley Cup charge.
And yet, this team's greatest trait may be its resilience. Just when you want to leave them for dead, they show you that they are not interested in going out like that. They have rebounded so many times and shown that they are not interested in taking the easy way out over and over again.
But, the clock is ticking. Time is running out.
I am starting to get the sinking feeling again that I suppose my Dad realized he couldn't function with anymore.
Adding to the drama of course is that all of these key games happen late at night. The whole house is asleep and quiet because the kids have school you can hear a pin drop upstairs. So, you keep Ralph and Razor on low so you can just high enough so you can hear and understand their voices, but low enough that you don't wake the kids.
And around midnight, the news will be delivered. Recently, it has been bad news. But, tonight, maybe it will be that special moment that propels them to that goal that they have fought so valiantly for all season - the playoffs. In those moments, you hop around the living room trying to stay quiet and celebrate at the same time. It is most enjoyable when it happens.
Of course, the happy endings are not predictable.
I cannot tell a lie. The odds are diminishing for this team by the day. I wish I knew this would end well. Like an episode of 24, no matter how bad it ever looked, you just knew Jack Bauer would figure out a way out of this mess. Why can't it be like that?
But, there is not a "Jack Bauer" guarantee on this season. Only 8 teams make the playoffs, and honestly, around the league there cannot be many expecting the Stars to pass the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
Can they get out of this mess? Can they find one more surge at the finish line?
Around midnight tonight, the house will be quiet and the Stars will be fighting with every last ounce of energy.
The odds will be stacked. I will be hearing Al Pacino giving his "Any Given Sunday" Speech in my head (youtube it if you have no idea what I am talking about).
I must confess - I love this hockey team. I want them to figure this out. But the doubts keep creeping back in.
There is no way my Dad would be able to watch. If this were the 1985 Green Bay Packers, there is no way he would be watching tonight. He would watch the San Jose game in the morning if I gave him the nod that things went well.
But, I cannot miss it.