That being said, I have been following the series as best as I can from a 1,000 miles away and without TV access during the games. However, I do feel a bit of a disconnect with other fans. And, quite frankly, it sucks. I watched Game 3 at Hattricks in Tampa and for the first time in a year remembered what it was like to watch a game with fellow fans. The Stanley Cup run of 2004 (normal working hours) and the Eastern Conference run of 2011 (unemployed) are the top two sports moments of my life. Despite their struggles early on, this team has a bit of that feel to it and it pisses me off that I can’t enjoy it real time.
Standing at a computer and hitting refresh every five minutes on ESPN’s score page is no way to watch a playoff hockey game. Neither is coming up with excuses to wander by the bar every 10 minutes to watch 30 seconds of action.
Granted, on a list of life’s burdens this ranks somewhere between Southwest’s internet not working and a FitBit not syncing with an iPhone (two real-life complaints I’ve heard in the last week) so this entire post should be taken with the correct amount perspective. But fellow sports fans, I’m sure you feel my pain.
Yet, even though the information provided is stripped down minimum, I still get caught up with the ebbs and flows of the action. I hit refresh and it’s 0-0 with 10 minutes to go in the first and I feel confident. I hit refresh and it’s 1-0 Bad Guys in the second and I’m worried. One more refresh and it’s 2-0 Bad Guys and a sense of despondency sets in. After dealing with a minor crisis I hit refresh and it’s still 2-0 with 10 minutes to go in the game and anger sets in. How could this team blow it like this. They’re getting punked by a goalie who’s not even good enough to have the right amount of vowels in his last name.
So I’m a little bitter at this point and the beginnings of a horrible, not so nice post are starting to spin around in my brain while I’m working (I’m putting labels on things so not much brain power is being directed to actual work operations). I’m ready to take Ben Bishop to task, Steven Stamkos to task, Coach Cooper - in short everybody is getting blamed for this debacle.
|I'm not saying it's ALL your fault, Steven, but can we see you celebrate at least one goal this series?|
Then I hit refresh. It’s now 2-1 Bad Guys. Tyler Johnson, that undrafted, unwanted dynamo of scoring has breathed life into the game. What’s that? Is that a little bit of hope growing in my brain? I spy a dirty glass in the lobby. Why surely that must be returned to the bar from whence it came post-haste. I cannot have it sullying my pristine lobby for even a moment. Why lucky me they have the Lightning game on and they are showing a replay of a Lightning goal.
But that’s not Tyler Johnson raising his hands in celebration it’s his partner in crime Ondrej Palat. Could it be? No…YES! The Lightning have tied the ballgame up and we’re going to overtime. With an inappropriate woo-hoo I head back to my desk to refresh away. After about 26 refreshes I get the good news: Tyler Johnson, That Magnificent Bastard, scored in overtime to tie the series, excite fan base and swing the momentum to the home ice bound Tampa Bay Lightning.
|"Why Tyler Johnnie! You Mad Cap!" #BadPhotoShop #GreatMovie|
Remember all that bad stuff I was going to write? Flush that down the toilet. A new narrative is to be written. The plucky favorites overcoming a hot goaltender and suffocating defense (and horrible special teams) to grasp victory from defeat and disgrace.
I return to my labeling with a renewed hope for the series and the realization that I will be able to watch Game 5 in it’s entirety (something that I have not clued the Duchess in on yet) with a sense of hope not despair. The Wings will be reeling with the knowledge that they let the series slip through their fingers while the Lightning know that they played their worst game but survived. Who knows maybe a magical, fire breathing unicorn will assist on a Steven Stamkos power play goal in Game 5!
Would I have liked to watch it live? Of course. Would I have woken the Duchess and the cats up with a wild, barbaric yelp of joy? You Betcha! Would I have recorded myself watching the game so that I could send it in to NHL.com in hopes that they would post #MyPlayoffMoments? Hell no. However, I will take the win, no matter how I found out about it.
We live in an amazing age of technology. Thirty years ago I would have waited for the news or a score break during the baseball game to find out who won. Heck, living in Chicago I probably wouldn’t even be a Lightning fan. So I shouldn’t complain that I have to wait a day or so to actually watch the game, after all my life choices landed me in Chicago. But still…if you’re reading this boss man, could you maybe take a look at the upcoming NHL schedule before creating MY work schedule. You know, maybe a couple of early days when the Lightning play? That would be cool.