Thursday, June 2, 2011

On rooting interests and unlikable teams

Two questions entered my brain as I was getting ready for work this morning:

1) How on earth does one manage to get a brown stain on a never-before-worn pair of sneakers?  And what exactly was that, anyway?  Coffee?  Mud?  Chocolate cake? Do I even want to know the answer to this?

2) What the heck was I thinking when I declared my allegiance to the Vancouver Canucks for the Stanley Cup Finals?

I'm the type of person that typically needs a rooting interest when watching sports, particularly when a championship is on the line.  Because of my intense loathing of all things Boston, I decided that Vancouver - despite the extreme tinfoil-hattiness and conspiracy theories of its fanbase and media - would be my choice.  Helping solidify my position was the notion that even Canada doesn't like the Canucks, and anything Canada hates is aces in my book.

A mere twenty minutes into Game 1, I began to regret my decision:

Stay classy, Alex Burrows. 

As the Canucks' diving picked up in the second period - at one point, a Canucks player (can't remember who) was bumped slightly from behind and spun 360 degrees while flailing his arms wildly in the air as if he'd seen a mouse, before falling to the ice - my distaste for the Canucks grew.  And when Raffi Torres of "zero goals in a Buffalo uniform" and "completely wasted second-round draft pick" fame scored the go-ahead goal with 18.5 seconds remaining, I let out a totally uncontrollable audible groan - to which my wife responded, "Didn't you say you were rooting for Vancouver?"

It was at that moment when I realized I just can't do it.  I cannot possibly feel good about rooting for either one of these teams.  I can't even root against one team over the other because I'm rooting against both.  It's like rooting for pestilence to defeat famine.  Something bad is inevitably going to happen, and all you can do is hope against hope that one outcome doesn't suck as badly as the other.

In the end, I guess the only thing I'm cheering for in this series is a single player: Tim Thomas. There's something innately likable about the guy.  Maybe it's the similarity of his style to Dominik Hasek, or his fiery Hextall-ish attitude that will cause him to leave his crease and clock a guy.  Maybe it's the fact that he got choked up about being named to the US Olympic Team last year.  Perhaps it's even that awesome playoff beard complete with handlebar mustache.  I'm not sure, but at least it's something.

Ugh.  Is it October yet?

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