Sunday, May 10, 2009

Eight Months Later...

So it's official. I've finally decided to join the blogosphere and share my thoughts and insights of varying coherence with the rest of the world. And by the rest of the world, I mean the two people who may at some point stumble across my ranting and raving.

Tonight was the game we've been waiting for all season. I can only say that in retrospect because in the hours leading up to Game 5, I was replaying traumatic memories of Game 5s past (*cough*34.7*cough*). It didn't help matters that there was an extra day in between the games. Because, clearly, my blood pressure needed to go up that much more in nervous anticipation.

But back to my original point. All season long, the Wings would tease us with hints of their greatness. We would see flashes of brilliance (usually late in a game after they sleepwalked through the first two periods) that were enough to make us drool all over our replica jerseys. It was in those moments that I would think to myself, "If they could just show up in that form at the beginning of the game, there is not a team on this earth who could beat them." It would be physically impossible. And then the very next game, they would come out looking like rookies who were too busy wetting their pants out of nervousness to bother backchecking. It was ugly. And I say that with all of the love in my oft-broken heart. It was like being asked to dinner by the man of your dreams, who then proceeded to pick his nose. Or something like that. I'm not sure what the equivalent would be from the male perspective.

My anxiety was at a frenzy-like level at the beginning of the BJs series. I spent most of the day before Game 1 having pleading conversations with the Hockey Gods during which I'm fairly certain I offered everything from my Scotty Bowman bobblehead to my first-born child if they would just allow the Wings to play to the best of their ability. Needless to say, I was greatly relieved when the Wings managed not to suck. They even managed to overcome that "curse" whereby the defending Stanley Cup champs can't seem to survive the first round. Let's face it though. The BJs didn't exactly put up much of a fight. (We'll ignore Game 4. See the previous paragraph for my reasons.) I still felt like there was another level to the Wings game.

Come Round 2, my anxiety had once again sent my blood pressure through the roof. There was the age-old agony of wondering if a long layoff would cause my boys to be rusty. That, however, is beside the point. Even in the victories in Games 1 and 4, the Wings still didn't seem to play the whole game. They left me wanting more and wondering if I would ever see a complete game from the boys.

Game 5 changed all that. The first period was an exhibit of such epic domination that it almost brings tears to my eyes. Ditto on the third. The second period was a little dicey after Anaheim found some life after scoring their goal, but let's face it, the outcome of the game was never really in doubt. The Wings simply weren't going to lose. Not on this night. Not on Mother's Day. (I'm not a mother at this point in my life, but had the Wings lost today, I feel like it would have sullied all future Mother's Days to the point that I would never be able to enjoy them.) Even though the first period ended scoreless (at which point I would normally break out into a cold sweat as I envisioned another upstart goalie stealing a victory/series from the Wings), I couldn't help but feel that it was only a matter of time until the Wings knocked a few in. Even though Anaheim decided to play hockey for the last half of the second period, I never doubted that the Wings would pull it out. Even though they only had a one-goal lead at the end of the second, I had faith.

And, let me tell you, this was a beautiful feeling. For once, I was able to sit and watch the game with a smile on my face instead of lying in a fetal position on the couch clutching a rally rag from last year like a security blanket. I was upbeat. I was happy. I was not nervously downing 8,000 calories worth of junk food in a robotic trance-like state in a lame attempt to relieve my stress. (I'm a hockey-nerves eater. Don't judge me for it. I'll never forget the popcorn bucket incident of Game 6 of the Finals last year. My digestive system still hasn't recovered from it.) While I'll freely admit that the Ducks didn't bring their A-game, does anyone really believe that it would have mattered? Not on a night like tonight. The Wings were in full flight tonight and were putting on a hockey clinic at the Joe for all to see. And it was beautiful.

Now it remains to be seen whether the same Wings will show up for Game 6 on Tuesday. My stress level hasn't started its slow but inevitable climb yet because I'm still riding high from the victory today, but rest assured, come Monday morning, I'll be in full-fledged panic mode again. I've often wondered if I should invest in a cardiac monitor for the playoffs. It really is a miracle that I didn't drop dead during overtime a couple of games back.

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