Better With Popcorn

Pride Matters

I can’t feel.

I can’t sleep.

I can’t eat.

I can hardly breathe.

But rest assured, I can type.

Cue the Dropkick Murphy’s, get out your bloody socks, and go to Red Lobstah, because the Flyers are headed to Boston for a game seven.

After the dust had finally settled on game six (along with what remained of my nerves), I sat in bewilderment. I sat in utter shock. I reached for words, but they simply evaded my grasp. All I could come up with was simple. Win or lose Friday, I’m not sure I have ever been more proud of a team than I am of the 2009-10 Philadelphia Flyers. No one would have cared had they lost game four. Or game five. Game six? Okay, now people would have cared. But with the statistics what they are, the injury situation, all the turmoil, the bounces that just wouldn’t go their way? Suffice to say, the grave was ready, the only question is when the lowering of the casket would begin.

Then, an extremely special thing that is not always seen in professional sports happened. The Flyers simply put pride first. They handled the familiar questions admirably; Statistics? One game at a time. Injuries? Someone has to step up. Turmoil? Hey, we’ve been there all year. Bounces not going our way? We’ll have to make them go our way. Talk all you will about the loss of David Krecji, the ineptitude of the Bruins offense, etc. I don’t write about the Bruins so I really don’t care. The Flyers never quit, and whether or not they win game seven, you won’t hear me complaining. I’m proud.

There will be a game seven, and history may be made much to the delight of the NHL marketing reps. The simple truth of the game is that the better team on Friday night will win. Montreal outplayed Pittsburgh in game seven, they won. Montreal outplayed Washington in game seven, they won. After facing do or die circumstances three games in a row, the Flyers will now do it for a fourth. Except this time, they’ll have company. Let there be no mistake, the pressure now mounts squarely on Boston. Only time will tell us if they can handle it as well as the Flyers have.

The only thing tangible that was won in game six was an opportunity to play a game seven. Fighting, clawing, and in some cases biting have led to this. One can only be sure that the same type of play is awaiting game seven. The NHL playoffs are the most exciting and compelling events in sports. That’s my opinion and you’ll never convince me otherwise. The opportunity to see your team make history in a game seven? Now, that’s just beyond exciting and compelling. Shoot, that’s a life-altering experience! All across the world, sports fans will glue their eyes to Beantown and whatever happens there. I don’t blame them.

The puck will drop on this unbelievable series Friday night at 7:00 eastern time, and the winner will move on to play the Halakness Monster, Crusading Cammalieri, the Sharp Subban and the rest of the giant killers north of the border. Win or go home for the fourth consecutive game. ‘Oh Captain, My Captain’ Mike Richards summed it up perfectly in his postgame media availability when asked what making history would mean, he said stoically as always, “…it would mean we move on…we haven’t really done much, yet. We tied the series…” He’s right, they haven’t done anything but tie the series, but what more can we ask? (Funny how all the questions are now focused on making history rather than turmoil, injures, statistics and bad bounces, with no questions about if Richie will celebrate in a Center City bar crawl after a win)

Game seven will come and go; and if history isn’t made Friday it will be at some point in the future. From now until then, and during the immediate aftermath, I won’t feel. I won’t sleep. I won’t eat. I will struggle to breathe. But rest assured, I’ll be proud.

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