From bad to worse

May 16, 2010 | Paul Hoke

I didn’t really think it could get any worse then it did a couple of weeks back when my Washington Capitals were bounced in the first round, from the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs by the Montreal Canadiens.  As the President’s Trophy winners and the NHL’s #1 overall seed, I had high hopes that this would be the year Lord Stanley’s Cup would be hoisted by our heroes in the red sweaters.  Didn’t happen, and I don’t want to revisit what happened.

It was a low point for me as a sports fan.  The Orioles stink, training camp is still 2+ months away, and I hate the NBA.  I didn’t think things could get worse.  Boy was I wrong…

The second round of the NHL playoffs actually started out reasonably well.  After beating the Caps, the Canadiens drew Pittsburgh and Cindy Crosby.  Due to my utter disdain for anything Pittsburgh, I instantly shifted gears and became a Montreal supporter.  And they didn’t disappoint.  The Habs did exactly what they did to the Capitals, to the Penguins.  They played faster, and better over the course of a seven game series, ultimately sending the defending Stanley Cup champions packing.  Meanwhile, in the Eastern Conference’s other semi-final matchup, the Boston Bruins skated out to a quick 3 games to 0 lead over the despicable Philadelphia Flyers.  As I’ve said before, I hate the city of Philadelphia and the Flyers.  They’re part of my sports “Axis of Evil”, along with the Pittsburgh Steelers and New York Yankees.  I despise them.  So seeing them go down 3-0 relatively easily warmed my heart.  Despite the Capitals quick exit, it seemed that I would still be able to follow the Stanley Cup playoffs.

Then they won Game Four.  No big deal, a 3-1 lead is almost insurmountable.  Wait, the Caps were up 3-1, as nevermind, that won’t happen to me a second time this playoff season.

Game Five, to Philthy.

Boston will surely put them away in Game Six, no way they let them force a Game Seven.

Of course they let them force Game Seven, how else could this possibly go.  On the good side, the Habs put the finishing touches on the Penguins, and advanced to the conference finals as a #8 seed.  Well done, Montreal.  Now all the Bruins have to do is not be the first team since 1975 to collapse from a 3-0 lead.

No.  No….oh please God no!  I feel like Marty McFly in Back to the Future Part 2 when he finds his father’s headstone.  Say it ain’t so.  I didn’t know whether to be angrier at the Flyers for winning, or at the Bruins for letting it happen!

Those rat finks from Philthy did it.  And my spring went from bad to worse.  There are times when being a sports fan is utopia.  You follow your favorite teams season in and season out, and along the way are rewarded with great games and fantastic finishes, and moments that you can store away and share them with friends and family for years to come.

Then there’s now.  When being a sports fan is the hardest, most painful thing on the planet.  When a team you have despised since birth climbs to the top of the mountain and has, to quote George C. Scott from the movie “Angus”, their moment.

So now I’m left with the #7 seeded Flyers, facing off against the team that ousted my Capitals, the #8 seeded Canadiens.  I’ve always struggled with faith and my relationship with God, but it seems that if there really is a higher power, he has one heck of a sense of humor.

This was a good one, God….