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Of all the pastimes I’ve taken up in life watching sports is the one that’s earned the majority of my life’s clock. From the time I started participating myself if there was a game on TV you could find me watching. I can remember the buildup for the 1989 Fiesta Bowl in my house, laying on the floor of my childhood living room watching Rocket Ismail and Notre Dame versus Miami, and falling off of my grandparents bed when Christian Laettner hit his buzzer beater against Kentucky. I can remember watching the Pistons get the best of Jordan’s Bulls and I can remember MJ becoming a legend shortly thereafter and winning the 90’s. If it’s happened after 1988 in the sports world, I’ve pretty much watched it and nothing — nothing in the sports world can beat a hockey playoff series. Well, except maybe a Gold Medal hockey game in the Olympics. Sidney Crosby, my favorite player (if I even have one), broke my heart and made it damn near impossible to cheer for him for weeks after his game winning goal for Team Canada over the USA a few years ago. That’s how invested into these battles you can become. But I digress.
Every second in a hockey playoff game means something. One crazy bounce of the puck, a single bad call, a solitary dirty play can be the difference between winning and losing. No lead feels safe until 60 minutes are up and you’re sure your team has walked away with the victory. Even after you’ve come out on top and you’re riding the tide of a win the happiness is short lived because you’ve only won you the opportunity to sit through one more fast paced, hard hitting, ice tilting, breath holding, can’t take your eyes off the play for even one second hockey game.
As a sports fan you can’t ask for anything better. The effort involved can only be described as pure. You want to see millionaires play a sport for the love of the game night in and night out? This is one of the few places you can still see it. The buzz that comes with watching your team weather the storm and come out on the other side can’t be explained — it can only be experienced. Take the 3-2 pitch in the bottom of the 9th of Game 7 of the World Series and times it by 60. And that’s just for your run of the mill first or second round matchups. You can have your point guard driving down the lane down by 2 with time running out, kicking out to the wide open man in the corner for 3 and the game. Win or lose, give me the all out chaotic, stressful, bliss that is playoff hockey. I love hockey in May.
Let’s Go Pens!