This weekend, I went to my first Stanley Cup playoff game. It was part of my season-long, self-imposed program centered around becoming a more well-rounded Pittsburgh fan. And a more educated hockey fan. Man, I picked the right season. Detroit may be more experienced, but I don’t think there’s a more fun team to watch than the Penguins. Maybe in any sport. However, I didn’t pick the right game.
I flew to Pittsburgh Friday night completely sure the Pens were going to pull off a game-three victory. My prediction: 2-1, Pens. I had no doubts. My team always wins. There was the year, not too long ago, when the Gators won the national basketball championship, the Steelers won the Super Bowl, the Gators won the national football championship and the Gators won the national basketball championship, back-to-back-to-back. I’ve had a good run as a fan. So as I walked into Mellon Arena, credential around my neck, I was feeling pretty confident.
But then something strange happened. My team didn’t win.
I was okay with that, though. I had a great time, experienced my first in-person playoff hockey game (thanks to editor Mark Giles, Lindsay Berra and the gracious folks at the NHL) and did my share of silent press-box cheering right along with 17,000 crazy Pens fans. (Bias aside—or not—I think Pittsburgh has the best sports fans. And not just because I’m one of them.) And I got the chance to spend a relaxing Sunday on my grandparents’ horse farm in nearby Sarver, PA, and visit with family. All in all, not a bad weekend.
Besides, it was only game four. Go Pens!
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