There is something thrilling about playoff hockey and being a fan at this time of year is extremely fun. As long as your team has a.) made the playoffs and b.) is winning more games than they lose. It guarantees to be an intense and emotional ride, though the duration of your team staying in it is never certain. Sometimes it is terrifying. The stress (you know who doesn’t stress? Batman), the sleepless nights, the superstitions (such as needing to wear the same clothing combination each game day!) As a Canucks fan, my stress levels are at an all time high right now. But at least I know I am not alone in this.
Why are we fans in the first place? Because we love our team and want them to win. It feels damn good to triumph at something, even if that is through a sports team and even if that team was supposed to be better than they’ve done in in the post season. Though our first postseason celebration came far later than anyone expected, the emotions that Wednesday’s victory evoked within us were towering bliss. We’re Canucks fans, dammit! So despite suffering the most terrible losses year after year after year, we come back again every season with a rejuvenated sense of enthusiasm. Well, most of us do.
Rivalries also become extra challenging at this time of year, especially when you have friends that cheer for opposing teams. One of my best friends is from Boston. Last June, we could not speak for three weeks. Once the Finals were over, and she got to celebrate with a parade while I cried, we went back to pretending that hockey never got between us. Social networks also involuntarily expose us to opposing fans, some are great and play the rivalry game well by keeping it fun, and engaging and some are just jerks. Such is life.
What’s clear is that the playoffs bring out the best and worst in us all, but no matter what our team does, we manage to cheer. Even when they take stupid penalties and need to be saved by an awesome goaltender. Or when said awesome goaltender makes an unbelievable save to keep the team on the higher end of the scoreboard. Or when our team wins a game that keeps them, and our mutual dream of a playoff championship, alive for just a little bit longer. Sometimes we need to take it game by game. And sometimes we need to scream, or throw things at the TV or punch a pillow until it feels as bad as we do.
So Canucks fans, with game 5 approaching, take a deep breath and remember it’s only hockey. This is not where any of us thought or expected the team would be, celebrating their first win after Game Four. Who knows what the ultimate fate of this team really is, but I’m not ready to stop cheering yet. Not by a long shot. Let’s just live for the moment and enjoy what we can, while we still can. It’s hard to believe but it’s not hard to cheer.