Sports, as we all know thanks to the first few minutes of ABC's Wide World of Sports, has an ugly flip-side to the thrill of victory. The feeling of flying off a ski jump at 80mph completely out of control, face planting the tundra and dragging slowly to a stop leaving a man-made trench and a yard sale of ski equipment and body parts behind you. What ever happened to that guy, anyway? And just what the hell kind of event was that? It looked like he flew off a tool shed or something.
Where was I?
But once the disappointment drifted to Memorial Day plans, perspective kicked in and Tampa Bay fans have every reason to be proud of a team that had no business coming back from three games to one against Pittsburgh. A team that, okay, was impressive in a miraculous comeback against the Penguins, but Washington should bring them crushing back to Earth, right? Nope. Swept'em. A team that ended up one goal, just one damn goal away from a chance at history. Who were these guys? Sure, everybody knew Vinny, St. Louis and Stamkos but some of them had barely introduced themselves to this fan base before the improbable run began. And so what if most of us waited until the playoffs before we really paid attention. We still watched 18 games. A full season of a Super Bowl team is 19. It was fast, frustrating, fingernail-chomping fun and made hockey fans out of regular Joe's who previously couldn't care less. One buddy never understood the concept of pulling the goalie. Still doesn't! But he was watching and cheering and just may do it again next year.
Congratulations, boys. From the top to the bottom of the franchise and vets and rooks alike. Well done. You turned a disaster into a delight. A catastrophe into the class of the NHL. From an ownership of Hollywood nincompoops who knew more about slasher-films than slap-shots to a team poised to be a perennial playoff contender. Who thought it would happen this soon, if ever?
Great job. See you next year. Now, about those 11 dollar domestics...
Quicker Hits: Buccaneer Aqib Talib (notice I didn't use the term "ex-Buccaneer") has been formerly indicted for the Texas shooting incident where, after his felonious Mom allegedly fired her gun at Talib's sister's boyfriend (notice I didn't use the term "ex-boyfriend"), he grabbed it from Mommy dearest and fired off a few rounds of his own (a family that attempts murder together...is f***ed up); Speaking of f***ed up, after a Saturday Rays loss to Cleveland, fans who had nothing better to do stuck around to hear carnival trash Avril Lavigne drop a few f-bombs on the crowd during her free concert because of some earlier technical difficulties (Great game, Dad. Now buy me some f***ing peanuts and crackerjack); Finally, the first long-overdue sign that Los Angeles is going to Hell in a handbasket occurred over the weekend where not one, but two fires broke out at Dodger Stadium Saturday and Monday, one during a charity event where dogs were allowed in the park (insert your own hotdog joke here, you sick bastard). No deaths or injuries were reported, possibly due to the fact that Los Angelinos are already dead inside.
Bonus Extra Credit: Guess which teams made it to the NBA Finals. Don't know? Good for you!