Hawks Win! Hawks Win! Hawks Win!
That speedy black dot, a vulcanized piece of rubber, is the period in my sentences.
It punctuates a delicate and bruising language written with passes and onomatopoeia.
In Chicago, these sentences told a story not of a Cup half empty or full, but of one that wasn’t there at all.
As a child, that story began with a belief that Chicago would handily and routinely win the Stanley Cup. Back then, my view of hockey was narrowed to the ice. Jeremy Roenick, Tony Amonte, Chris Chelios, and Ed Belfour were all the reasons I needed.
But as I aged, my perspective of the game was painfully widened to the business side of hockey. After Chicago’s Stanley Cup run in 1991, my heroes were shipped or driven off by incompetent ownership.
It took a stingy owner’s death in 2007 to do it, but the ’Hawks finally spent money like they cared.
And what a way to win it.
It’s odd not to know your team just scored the Stanley Cup-winning goal. Pat Kane, a gifted forward with an infuriating penchant for defensive-zone blunders, shot the puck and skated away like he just stole something. The arena was quiet and officials reviewed the replay.
When NBC cameras showed Kane’s teammates joining his celebration, I joyfully threw and shattered my 5th plastic cup of the series. Deep inside of me, long-languishing emotions unleashed. I yelled in tongues and hugged myself. When my mom came to see what the commotion was about, I managed to reinjure her back with an instinctive and jubilant big squeeze.
As a 20 something virgin, I was well-acquainted with long and frustrating waits, but Chicago’s was remarkably difficult.
My Blackhawks didn’t just beat Philadelphia in six poorly-goaltended games. They redeemed years of being Detroit’s whipping post. They finally buried memories of all that wasted potential and God-awful management. [editor’s note: the Blackhawks recently traded Dustin Byfuglien and half of the rest of the team] They legitimized my faith.
As the Cup was passed around Chicago’s team, a friend of mine from Alaska called. We were childhood Blackhawks fans, but I hadn’t spoken to him in quite some time.
Though the Hawks were the deeper and more talented team, though they had the better regular-season record, we both said the same thing:
“I can’t believe it. “
Congratulations, Chicago. Let’s hope it’s less than 50 years before this happens again.