There’s this thing that fans of all flavors do that always takes me out of the moment whenever there’s a conversation about sports. It’s the we meme : “We should have played better against San Jose.” “We were really weak on the penalty kill tonight.” “We really brought it against Columbus!”
I don’t know where we were, but I am usually in the bleachers or in front of the tv or listening to the streaming radio feed while I’m at work. As much emotion as I invest in the game, the fact is that I am not the one doing the heavy lifting. It’s those guys down there on the ice. They’re the ones who train, who travel, who play hard and pray harder that this time, this game, this year, yes this year…This is going to be the year.
It’s easy to imagine what the Nashville Predators are thinking and feeling. (Okay, maybe a few of them grumbled as they canceled the tee times they’d scheduled for later this month, but I doubt that they were too sorry to do it.) They have to be over the moon about this and frankly, those of us who love our team are pretty giddy about it, too.
For hockey fans in Nashville, knowing that the Predators are going to the playoffs is always an emotionally charged issue. All of those years of waiting and hoping that hockey would come to stay are rewarded when that dot appears next to the Predators’ name on the standings board. It is our reward for writing letters, supporting and promoting the club every chance we get, petitioning the Davidson Country tribal elders that they consider expanding the limits of what is accepted as sports culture in Middle Tennessee.
Why do we care? Simple, we, meaning me and every other person who adopted a team in far off places such as Edmonton and Detroit and who cheered on the Dixie Flyers, the South Stars, the Knights and the Nighthawks, we know how important this is. We love hockey and we have a team of our own and everyone else is going to see how great they are.
Getting back to the present, the Predators have made it to the playoffs. Oh heck, I want typing this to become muscle memory. Indulge me. The Predators have made it to the playoffs. The Predators have made it to the playoffs. The Predators have made it to the playoffs.
Last week Barry Trotz made the comment that it was time for people to stop saying they were from somewhere else and start saying they were from Nashville. I couldn’t agree more. Hockey lives here.
The Preds Faithful have always known that faith and belief pay off. Now it’s time for everyone else to see how much we believe in our team and how much power that belief can have.
Next up: We owe Canada and should support expansion that would include Quebec City, Hamilton and Winnipeg. (Calm down. I’m a trained anthropologist. I can explain this.)