The Chicago Blackhawks’ 2013 hockey season has been my favorite season of sports ever. It’s not even a conversation for me. After witnessing everything that has happened this year, I wonder if I have ever even really been a sports fan before. Sure, I catch a lot of Bulls games, have even attended several, and I’ve watched about every Bears game for the past couple years, and have always watched sports since I was a child and my father would have the 90’s Bulls championship games on and would react fiercely to Bears games. I even consider myself a Cubs fan, although my enthusiasm for baseball has all but entirely faded as of late.
But this experience is new, and is inexplicable. I’ll go to the bar with friends and family to watch some of these games, just like I’ve done with every other sport every other year, but when the referee drops the puck in center ice, you won’t hear me again for another 20 minutes of game time [save the occasional couch noise]. I am transfixed and mesmerized by the sport, and the viewing experience has transcended anything I have experienced in the past. The crisp, sharp sounds of sticks, pucks, glass, and players is breathtaking and unparalleled in sports; the amount of sheer excitement and suspense never ends, for you don’t have multiple time-outs or time in between plays like basketball and football, and the energy levels multiply those of soccer because of the enclosed, smaller space, along with the fact that pucks can be shot multiple times faster and the players are on skates. There is just no comparison in this world to the experience of playoff and Stanley Cup hockey.
I won’t lie, I like being a little smug and pretentious with my Blackhawks fandom, having started watching them before they won it all in 2010 [I watched in 2009, get on my level]. That win was something entirely different from this year. That win changed everything, and gave life to a dead sport in Chicago, and I couldn’t be more glad that it happened. But the sad thing is, I wasn’t 100% interested in those games that season. As much as I hate to admit this, I even fell asleep in game 6, the final game, before it was over. I can’t help but laugh when thinking about it now, because after 3 overtime games in a 8 days, I am actually getting physically tired watching the Blackhawks games, but I am never close to falling asleep. Pure adrenaline floods my body as the players gear up and the television networks start the hype.
I don’t want to get too far into specifics of this greatest sports season yet, because it’s not over and it could all be for naught, but I also couldn’t go another second without somehow expressing how glad I am that I have been able to experience what I consider to be the epitome of sports, and I hope everyone out there is just as glad.
Tonight, the Blackhawks have a chance to win the 2013 Stanley Cup, and although it will have almost no historical statistical significance, it would be the greatest single sports achievement for me as a sports fan.
Let’s go Hawks!