The sun came up this morning—and what a beautiful day–, my wife and kids woke up healthy and happy, and I drove 30 minutes to a job I have grown to adore. Life is good.
After disappointing losses, sports fans often need perspective to bring emotions back down to earth. Not all fans are able to see this perspective, though. I used to throw remote controls, scream at inanimate objects, and pound my fists into the arms of my recliner. Then…I had kids. Isn’t it funny how two little human beings can change everything you’ve ever known?
It’s a sport. A game played for entertainment. It shouldn’t dictate your schedule; it shouldn’t dictate your mood. I would have entire weekends ruined because of a game. Now, I watch when I can. And heavens knows I’m a lot happier for it.
Which brings me to last night.
The San Antonio Rampage were in the playoffs for just the forth time in franchise history. They were also on the verge of elimination after two gut wrenching losses in Oklahoma City. Losses that saw them blow 3rd period leads in both games and a three goal lead in game two. I was oddly calm walking into the arena. Then again, I expected the Rampage that we’ve seen all season to show up. The team that finished second in the AHL in goals scored (a franchise record 248). The team that won 45 games and accumulated 98 points, both also franchise records.
Instead, I got a team that looked slow, tired, and defeated. And I was ok with it. This team gave me my favorite season of Rampage hockey in 9 seasons.
I will always remember the 2012 playoffs because of the end result–a win over Chicago in 2OT—but I don’t remember much of anything about that six month regular season. The lone exception being the final game of the regular season, a 1-0 win over a Barons team resting its star players, which was irrelevant because the Rampage clinched halfway through the second period because of a Charlotte loss.
This season is different though. The Rampage set records. They won a division and they finally got us a banner. They were exciting to hell to watch and made going to games fun again after two seasons of misery.
It’s okay to be disappointed. It’s the nature of being a sports fan. But for this Rampage fan, the disappointment lies in the end result, not the team. For six plus months, they gave it everything they had. They made us proud to be Rampage fans again. For that, I am thankful to have been along for the ride.
Sometimes the destination doesn’t live up to expectations. But damn, the ride to get there can sure be fun.