When the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Tampa Bay Lightening in game five I knew they would win the Stanley Cup. There was no way they would lose in a clinching game at home. I never said it out loud because I didn't want to jinx it. Yes, I knew that nothing I did was going to change the outcome, but I was still superstitious that way.
Instead I looked at Daddy and said, "Never in my lifetime." I didn't have to finish the sentence. Daddy knew what I meant.
I have had a long history of sports disappointments. I listened to a lot of hockey playoff games we should have won but didn't. The game seven loss to the LA Kings in 2014 was simply the latest in a string of disappointments. I watched the Bears lose a Super Bowl game. I watched the University of Illinois lose two Rose Bowl and one Sugar Bowl games -- in person no less. I watched as the University of Illinois lost the NCAA championship to a University of North Carolina team that now seems to have cheated their way to the championship. My history of sports losses in big games is legendary. I wanted to blindly believe that the Chicago Blackhawks were going to win the Stanley Cup, but I couldn't say it out loud. I never wanted a win as much as I wanted to win this championship.
Throughout the hours between game five and game six, all I kept thinking was how much I wanted my Dad to be here to watch with us. I wanted him to experience the same happiness we all were feeling after so many years of disappointment. My Dad watched so much bad hockey during his lifetime that I wanted him to see that his loyalty was rewarded with Stanley Cup championships. He always believed they were going to be a good team when the season started. The team finally deserved his loyalty.
He only saw the first championship in this run, so it's up to us to celebrate for him. As I sat watching this year's celebration, I couldn't help but think about how happy he would have been to see this success, especially after the victory rally. There was a moment when Jonathan Towes was at the microphone in front of the cheering crowd talking about how special the third Stanley Cup was for the team. As he closed his remarks, he said something like "You know what would be even better? Four." He smiled and said, "Let's go."
Four? Never in my lifetime, but I do have my fingers crossed. I won't believe it until it happens, but I really, really hope it does.