Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Quitters Never Win

If wishes were horses, beggars would ride. If effort was money, Red Wings would beg.

                But to beg would be to desire a result, to be concerned about a result, and so perhaps Red Wings would not beg. Perhaps Red Wings would lay down and die, as they have most nights this season. Some games they lay down and die less than the other team, but across the board our Wings have not produced above an 85% effort in a game (excepting perhaps Vancouver) I can attest to, and have averaged a 60% effort. That’s if we’re being generous.

Want to know what’s funniest about this? I couldn’t even catch the game tonight. I was working, a concept the Wings seem positively allergic to. But I didn’t need to watch to know what probably happened:

 I’ll bet the Red Wings came out with a 40% effort. I’ll bet they came out with all the fight and urgency of a fat cat on a sunny day.

                I’ll bet the Red Wings didn’t bother to crash the net and force rebounds. That’s not a good idea when the entirety of your hockey strategy seems to revolve around firing a puck through three or more solid human bodies.

                I’ll bet the Red Wings still wouldn’t know what a good pass looked like if it appeared on their stick with a wide open shooting lane beckoning to them.

                I’ll bet we looked like bored toddlers. I’ll bet we looked the same way we have all season. I’ll bet we still don’t get what’s on the line. I’ll bet we won’t wake up until it’s too late. If we haven’t woken up yet, there’s absolutely no indication we will soon.

                And if disappointment were music, Hockeytown would sing. We do sing. Night after night, we wax lyrical and un-lyrical about the shortcomings of a team that just doesn’t care. We sing of excuses, none of which explain away the fact that a professional hockey team doesn’t seem to feel like playing hockey. I sure wish I could be paid hundreds of thousands not to show up at my job. The worst excuse of them all? That we have a “garbage roster.” Here’s some truth: I’ve seen worse rosters do better things and I have seen better rosters do worse things. But I have never seen THIS roster, this Red and White, Winged Wheeled Sweatered Roster, do less things. I find myself disgusted. After all, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. And this pup’s got no fight. This pup’s got no urgency. This pup’s got no ambition. This pup’s not going anywhere, not at this rate.

                So what do we, the fans who actually play our hearts out on the message board and twitter rinks of hockey each night, do? We waited half a season for hockey and have been treated for another half a season to effort akin to a 9th grade girls gym class. So what now? What do we do now as our beloved team stands on the precipice of a virtual unknown frontier? The one I dare not speak the name of. The place without *deep breath* P-L-A-Y-O-F----I can’t finish. What do we do?

                We don’t give up. We continue to play our hearts out, because this is Hockeytown. We stand up and cheer for a team who has brought us what fans of many other teams will never see in their lives: four championships, over two decades straight of playoffs, a long list of HoFers. Sure, this year has been one hell of a disappointment. But damn it, we aren’t out of it yet. If it can hurt this bad to lose it must be because we have something special on the line. If there isn’t a single person in that Red Wings’ locker room who feels the need to stand up, rally that team and kick into their heads the idea of giving it your all, maybe we can. We signed up for this fan thing, for better or for worse. It hurts tonight, but that’s sports and that’s love. Let’s ride out the season behind our guys, show them what effort really is. Who knows, maybe they’ll surprise us and turn the afterburners on just in time. We aren’t out of this yet. We are not out of this yet. If you don’t want our guys to quit on the season just yet, set an example.  There’s not a damn bit of good giving up will do us. So stick your heart back on your sleeve, Hockeytown, and get ready for the next one.  If wishes are second chances, maybe we’ll get one. Again.