Some time after 9 p.m. last night I was able to breathe again. When Kevin Fiala scored the game-winning goal in the second overtime period to give the Nashville Predators a 5-4 win over the Winnipeg Jets, I was able to breathe again. The Predators were able to even their best-of-seven series in the Western Conference semifinals.
Again, I ask myself why I put myself through this.
I have done this for as long as I have followed sports. I remember the early 1990s when I went through something similar like this with the Atlanta Braves. Late nights. Close games. Dramatic finishes. They never made it easy.
It’s a lot of work watching these games. It seems that the teams I pull for never make it easy.
It’s fun when you win. When you lose, not so much. And all this for what? I don’t know really. It’s just a hobby. I don’t play hockey. I’m not on the team. It changes nothing in my life. I still had to get up and go to work today.
It’s just entertainment. That’s it. Nothing else. A game played by a team of players who aren’t even from here. They are from Finland, Sweden, Russia and even the U.S. players on the team aren’t from Nashville. It’s kinda strange when you think about it that way.
I can tell you that for almost 3 hours last night I had to remind myself when it was okay to breathe. Every shot attempt and every save had me on edge.
On Friday the Nashville Mayor proclaimed it “Predators Pride Day” and for the first time I wore my Predators’ jersey to work. To my surprise I did not see another person in the building or around the block wearing any Predators’ gear. You can see Bridgestone Arena from my office building. I was a bit surprised about that.
Then the team lost 4-1 that night. The Predators had a huge shot attempt number but only got one in for a score. Winnipeg didn’t have many chances and they just seemed to flip it in with ease. The agony of defeat.
Yeah, Winnipeg. That’s not really a well-known North American city yet this Winnipeg is making my life miserable. For hockey folks, Winnipeg originated as the Atlanta Thrashers. When the Thrashers failed to establish hockey in Atlanta for the second time, they moved to Winnipeg, Manitoba in Canada.
When I first started watching hockey, it was the Atlanta Flames and later I followed the New York Islanders during their glory years. Since moving to Nashville, I can say that I am a fully converted Nashville Predators’ fan. Even my wife – who had never been to a hockey game – is a fan now. You should hear her coaching the team during the game. She’s right on it too.
Another annoyance with watching the games now is that we are stuck with the NBC announcers. I really wish we could just mute their voices and listen to the game without them. Their color commentary person is stating the obvious and really has nothing to add to the game. She has repeatedly referred to how big the Winnipeg Jets are. Okay, we get it. Move on. No need to state that observation in every game. They aren’t going to change in height or size so let’s move on. Better yet, say nothing. I’m good with that. No, it’s not our homey broadcasters and I get that but they could say a lot less in my opinion.
So I come back to why do I put myself through this? I don’t know. Life has enough drama right?
Even if the Nashville Predators win the title what, in my life, will it change? Georgia lost to Alabama in College Football National Championship Game in January. Did that change anything? No. The Falcons suffered the most humiliating loss in Super Bowl history to New England two years ago which changed nothing. It’s like a TV series. It’s entertainment. That’s it.
I tell myself this but on Tuesday night I will be reminding myself when to breathe yet again.