The Puck Stops Here
What a disgrace! For the first time in 86 years, Lord Stanley’s Cup will not be awarded due to a freakin’ labor dispute. How f*cked up is that?
And how f*cked up is it that Tampa Bay, a team from Florida, gets to hold on to The Cup another year as unearned champions?
Hockey is, obviously, the greatest sport known to Man. And the greatest moment in sports is at the end of the Stanley Cup Finals, when the NHL league President hands the cup over to the captain of the winning team and the captain hoists The Cup over his head.
It brings tears to the Kid’s eyes.
Even if a team the Kid hates winds The Cup, it’s still a magical moment. That one instant where he triumphantly raises The Cup to the roar of the crowd (even an unfriendly crowd) and for that second the promise of the entire season; the tears, the sweat and especially the blood, are momentarily fulfilled.
In other sports, the actual trophy is of little value. Who knows what the Major League Baseball trophy looks like? Or the NFL trophy? Or the NBA trophy? Those teams play for the title, not the object.
Hell, in soccer, the World Cup – isn’t even a freakin’ cup!
But in a sport as cultish as hockey, the title is fine, but what’s really important is the totem. The object of power that you can touch. The thing you can wrap your arms around and hoist over your head. The venerated relic you can kiss.
And you don’t get to keep it, like every Superbowl victor keeps a Vince Lombardi trophy. You have to work to keep it, and if you fail, the totem is handed to someone else, in an age old ceremony as pregnant with meaning as the inauguration of an American President. That’s why it’s so special. That’s why it is so sought after. And that’s why it is a disgrace that a team will keep it until (hopefully) next year without having earned its power.