Now that the Hawks have clinched a playoff spot, all I can do is think about the upcoming playoffs. Three years ago when the Blackhawks made the playoffs for the first time since 2002, I was introduced to playoff hockey for the first time in my life (I was too young to remember the ’02 playoffs or the playoffs from the 1990’s). Let me tell you, it’s a feeling that never gets old. It’s almost an addiction. It is also one of the toughest feelings to try and describe to someone who has never experienced it.
During the regular season, hockey is still one of the most suspenseful sports to watch because of the quickness of the game. The playoffs, however, take it to a new level. From the opening puck drop to the final buzzer, you will find yourself on the edge of your seat with your eyes wide open knowing that at any second, someone could score a goal. For me, I get a bit more extreme.
I cannot sit back and relax while watching the Blackhawks in the playoffs. I am constantly leaning forward, waiting for something to make me jump out of my seat. My heart is beating a mile a minute from about 2 hours before puck-drop to a good hour after the game ends. I can’t even think about food while watching the game. I get so wrapped up and nervous while watching that I sometimes even feel sick. Yes, I know that sounds pathetic, but I cannot help it. You know those people who yell and scream at the TV while watching their favorite sports teams? Well, that’s me, and then some. Just ask any of my college roommates, or anyone who lived on my floor in the dorm last year during the Hawks’ first round series against the Canucks. I know for a fact that I woke up most of my neighbors when the Hawks won in overtime in Game 6, as well as when Toews scored shorthanded to tie Game 7 with about 2 minutes left in regulation. Maybe the best example of how obsessed I am with the Blackhawks and the playoffs is this:
May 29th, 2010 was the day of my high school graduation. It was one of the biggest days of my life up to that point. I had been waiting for that day basically ever since I started school. Most kids get nervous before their high school graduation, and for good reasons. They don’t want to trip and fall while walking across the stage, they don’t want to faint while sitting during the ceremony, etc. Well, I was definitely nervous that day, but for a completely different reason. May 29th, 2010 was Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals between the Blackhawks and Flyers. While riding with my family to my graduation, which was about a 45 minute drive from my house, all I did was read that day’s newspaper articles about the Blackhawks and the Cup. While sitting in my seat during the graduation ceremony, guess what I was thinking about? I don’t think I even have to answer that. When the whole ceremony was over with, I took a few pictures with my friends like most people do, but then it was back to the Hawks. The best part about it all was when my dad handed me a note after the ceremony that read, “Be ready by 4:00. Game starts at 7:00.” It was at that moment that I realized he had bought tickets to that night’s game without me knowing until then. I’ve never been so excited in my life.
The playoffs make you experience certain feelings that you never even knew existed. Some people might ask how I can find enjoyment in watching the Blackhawks when all I do is get so nervous that I end up feeling sick. Well, my answer to them is this: I am a die-hard fan who lives and dies with the Hawks. When they win, I win. When they lose, I lose with them. It’s an addiction, and not a bad one.
Us Hawks fans are still waiting to see just where in the standings they will finish up this year. It’s looking like they will most likely finish 6th, with a 50/50 chance at finishing 5th. They have 2 huge games left on their schedule, both of which they need to win if they want to finish any higher than 6th. Thursday, they’re in Minnesota, and Saturday afternoon they finish up their regular season in Detroit.
So, with all of that being said, if there is one thing that I can ask of you, please watch the NHL playoffs this year. Especially those of you who have never done so! You will not regret it, I promise.