Yesterday during the first period of the Pens game, I went to Walmart with my family to shop for food as we were having the whole extended family over for Mexican dinner, as is usual for us on Sundays.
What is NOT usual is us doing the shopping during game three of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Was it because we were fair-weather fans who gave up on the team and walked away from them? No.
Was it because NOT watching the game was the only thing we hadn’t tried yet to will the karma and juju and mojo of the universe to give us a win? Yes.
Hey, we said, let’s try NOT watching the game and see what happens. Maybe when we check the score, we’ll be up six goals and come on, even the Pens can protect a six-goal lead. So we marched through Walmart, which was pretty deserted, and we bought our stuff. We didn’t know the score and we wouldn’t check the score.
As we exited the store, it was probably about five minutes into the second period, and a guy in his thirties, sporting a Sidney Crosby jersey, was also exiting the store with a buggy full of stuff and he was pushing that buggy like it was full of angry rabid squirrels that he planned to go dump in the Mon. His eyes were narrowed. His brow furrowed. His jaw set. His step hard. He had clearly shopped angry, and if he’s anything like me, shopping angry means you leave the store with three kinds of pies, four boxes of Pop-Tarts, and a small kitchen appliance you don’t need and will never use.
I said, “Uh-oh. Check the score, honey.”
“Oh, God. Not again.”
“But this time it’s the Flyers [patooie] who are up.”
So we headed home to cook and flicked on the television and set it to the game as our families started pouring in with their children. NOT watching hadn’t made any difference, so we might as well watch, was our reasoning.
And from there, it got worse and worse until it felt like we were sitting at rock bottom looking at each other all, “What was that?! What just happened?! WHO ARE THOSE PEOPLE?!”
I HATE the Flyers. You know this. But yesterday afternoon, I felt things about the Penguins that I hadn’t ever felt before. I was embarrassed for them, not because of their play, but because of their behavior. Granted, the Flyers’ thuggery and general state of existing is enough to drive anyone to the brink, but the Penguins went to the brink, looked around, and swan-dived.
I heard my sister, PENS FAN, say at one point, “We’re a bunch of thugs.” And I almost dropped my tequila.
I didn’t go that far, but I was sad. At one point, as chaos reigned on the ice for what seemed like an eternity, I thought to myself, “They should ban fighting in hockey.”
I wasn’t angry at Fleury; I’m sure he’s doing a good enough job at being angry at himself. But watching that game felt like watching someone you love and respect do things you never thought they’d ever do. It was like a favorite celebrity being caught on camera kicking kittens for pleasure. It was foreign to see that incredible loss of composure and maturity by our boys — and yes, they are still our boys and always will be our boys because our boys are HUMAN BEINGS and they had a human set of moments that came together to form one big cluster of WTF.
So my sister and I were kind of disgusted by our own team, while my husband was like, “Pssh. Flyers [patooie] deserve it.”
And my brother-in-law Muchacho said, “Last year Hartnell BIT LETANG AND HE’S WHINING ABOUT GETTING HIS HAIR PULLED?! The Flyers are getting everything they deserve.”
My father was kind of just generally disgusted with the whole situation, both teams, the sport, the universe, Barack Obama, etc.
Then as the din died down, I saw the Flyers smiling their evil smiles of satisfaction that they had gotten to the Penguins — that they had reduced us to that, and I saw their evil glee and I took my disgust for my own team and I balled it up and I shoved it deep down into that cavity in my heart where I keep my hate and I tripled my loathing of the Philadelphia Flyers to beyond-biblical proportions. Max Talbot included [patooie].
Today, in the light of day, that game still has left a bad taste in my mouth, but I still love my team and as I said after the game yesterday, I still believe they can win it in seven — to which Muchacho asked me how much drugs I had done.
Unfortunately, none at all.
Drugs would have made that game — that SPECTACLE of descent into madness — much more bearable.
I don’t know who is leading in that locker room, but it’s time for someone to step up and show the men the way to play this team without losing themselves, because it’s one thing to lose in the first round of the Stanley Cup to the Flyers [patooie], but it’s another thing altogether to lose a portion of your dignity to them.
Let’s go, Pens!