Monday, June 29, 2015

The New Titletown

I'm not tired of the winning yet.

Last week, the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-0 on home ice to clinch their third Stanley Cup title in recent memory. They have not only won just as many championships in six years then they did in the previous eight decades, but they've become the closest thing the NHL has to a dynasty in the post-lockout, salary cap era. In a city largely associated with sports mediocrity, "Da Hawks" have become a bright beacon of hope in a coalmine of futility. There was hardly anything to indicate ten years ago that this could ever happen to these perennial cellar-dwellers. (Of the "Original Six" NHL teams, only the Rangers have won fewer Stanley Cups.)

Unlike the deciding game in 2010 and 2013, I stayed home. I was wary of driving into the city when the nearest interstate drives right up to the stadium, especially in rush hour. It was also raining heavily, and any other plans simply never materialized. After leaving work, I ran a quick errand, took a power nap, than convened with my family to watch game 6 in our living room. It was a rare occasion for all four of us to be watching the same thing on TV, let alone the same TV. Both of my parents were on the mend --Mom had a staph infection, Dad's dizzy spells forced him to go to physical rehab-- and living at home has become more of an obligation than anything else.

Amid a growing mountain of stress, the Blackhawks have become a weird kind of constant in my life. I couldn't care less about the Cubs or White Sox, the Bears are rebuilding, the Bulls are a good team that hit a plateau before ever finding greatness, and the Fire (the soccer team, not the TV show) are all but irrelevant. This city has its problems, but the hockey team almost everyone forgot about a decade ago is not one of them. It's one thing when something once assumed impossible happens, let alone three times. May the good times roll while they last.



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