Thursday, April 09, 2009

The Greatest Thing in All of Sports

So I was in the shop, preparing to gear up the Hyperbole Engine, ready for an annual spin on the subject of hockey, specifically playoff hockey, super-specifically overtime playoff hockey when I realized I'd already written everything I wanted to say. And so, today we learn that it's not plagiarism if you have the permission of the author. From April 13, 2008:

The Masters and its annual Salmon-to-Capistrano vernal heralding rightfully headlines sports news this week. The NCAA Basketball tournament just capped off another frantic March with a thrilling title game (NOTE: Not true this year). The NBA's regular season draws to a close with a historically tight Western Conference race, and any number of terrific story lines (NOTE: partially not true this year). Baseball's long season has begun to slowly unfold. Mel Kiper's taken a shower and shed his bathrobe in preparation for his annual moment in the sun.

As usual, we continue to overlook the most consistently exciting moment in sports. Alex Kovalev got his barbaric yawp last night (NOTE: only true if you are in a coma), his slapshot ripping the net behind Tim Thomas' shoulder to give the Montreal Canadiens a 3-2 overtime win over the Boston Bruins. Kovalev's arms shot in the air, making the universal sign of victory as he spun back towards his onrushing teammates. And overtime playoff hockey delivered as it always does.

I'm no longer the hockey fan I once was, rarely catching a full regular season game even on television. Too many things competing for my time, I suppose. (NOTE: still completely true) But even as the my interest in the game has waned, I'm a sucker for playoff overtimes. The teams don't matter, for the most part, because the purity and intensity of the moment elevate the spectacle beyond partisanship (and because the Bruins, my putative favorites, have stunk on ice for years (NOTE: until now, at which point they will nearly certainly gack to the Habs or Rangers)). No other athletic competition offers the instant-by-instant potential for resolution, the razor's edge difference between victory and defeat. The speed of the game plays immensely into the equation, the end-to-end action riveting and the finality of the result brutally human, good and bad meted out equally and only sometimes fairly.

I remember watching with my father as the Islanders' Pat LaFontaine beat the Capitals with a wrister from the slot in the 4th overtime of a 1987 playoff game. Neither of us had a rooting interest in the game, but we stayed up until 2:00 am on Easter morning because it was overtime playoff hockey. I saw Keith Primeau beat the Penguins in the 5th overtime 8 years ago, and I couldn't care less about the Flyers. I leapt off the couch when Uwe Krupp won the 1996 Stanley Cup for the Avalanche with a goal in the 3rd overtime of Game 4 against the Florida Panthers, and while I love me some Uwe Krupp, the result of that game didn't mean a thing to me.

But the payoff was so very cool. (NOTE: some truths are universal)

27 comments:

rob said...

so, um, larry mize, then.

TJ said...

Nice work Jayson Blair.

rob said...

post count is the new black, teej.

TJ said...

Racist.

rob said...

rube.

TJ said...

Moving on...Whit just informed me Carl Pavano had a *cough* good first start for the Indians.

rob said...

mwahahaha

rob said...

wow, that's epic in its shittiness.

zoltan said...

The Orioles started a guy named Felix Pie in left field. In the same game, a guy name Phil Coke is pitching for the Yankees. This is probably fodder for humor but I'm too stupid to come up with anything.

zoltan said...

Guys named Bass, Ransom, and Swisher are also involved.

rob said...

chad campbell ensuring that the field wakes up tomorrow with the pins stuck in bunkers.

TR said...

Getting drunk by yourself in a midtown bar while watching Yanks play is actually pretty fun.

Mark said...

I saw Felix Pie play in the minors. He was actually one of the Cubs' top prospects (as a CF) but never quite put it all together (even though he can't be too old just yet). But, he looks like Marquis Daniels, so he's got that going for him.

TR said...

Stella has sneakily crept up the ranks as my draft beer of choice. Unfortunately, I am now 5 pints ahead of the group of friends who will be meeting me here at 530.

Is this what it's like to be TJ?

TJ said...

It sure is...

Hi from the Dub.

TJ said...

Riiiight, except I have a job...

rob said...

zing!

Jerry said...

The Rangers have a lot of trouble scoring on Boston. If NY gets the 8 seed, prepare yourself for some boring games. Boston is happy to oblige, especially at home, where they have used slow-paced, conservative strategy that the Rangers couldn't come close to cracking.

rob said...

coco crisp, 2-run 9th-inning tater provides the winning margin for the royals. nice.

rob said...

i know the b's are pretty good, jerry, but history gives me lots of reasons to doubt them. they're like a less-literary version of the pre-2004 red sox.

TR said...

Job: overrated
Severance: underrated

COBRA: ugh

rob said...

former major champion michael campbell got beat by a 73 year-old today at the masters. that can't be great for his confidence.

zoltan said...

Draft Stella often tastes skunky to me. Maybe I drink at bars with dirty tap lines.

Geoff said...

Zoltan...he's looking forward to disagreeing with your opinion...

Greg said...

the "teej" and I both heartily endorse "Parks and Recreation".

Mark said...

I bet you endorsed some other things tonight as well...

Jerry said...

Greg St. Ferrari approves.