Thanks to John for the game recap even though he had a laundry list (that included laundry) of things to do tonight. I had the pleasure of going home, finishing packing, and driving to Austin after the game.
I don't enjoy long drives but with a bag of Bugles, Beaver Nuggets, and a giant Sprite, along with my husband to keep me company in my ear for certain stretches, it wasn't too bad.
In fact, it was kind of a relief after such a chock-a-block weekend of hockey. I was pretty tired of this series by the second period on Saturday, so if I weren't such an absolute whore for hockey, today would have been pretty tedious.
Even so, I was glad to leave the Toyota Center today and clear my head. I still haven't learned to parse a game the way Andrew and John can and pick out what the important stories are when they're as chaotic as these games were. Especially not within minutes of the game ending.
The drive, however, gave me a chance to sift out the noise and get down to what mattered to me about these games.
Sure, I could dwell on officiating (which was unspeakably awful to the point of dangerous, from Hebert to the guy Saturday night and back to Hebert again). I could pick away at all the things the Aeros did wrong. I could get on Hackett and Tordjman for soft goals.
I could also just say, "Hey, the result is what matters and they got every point they could."
But what I really want to say is, Thank You.
Thank you for your heart and your hustle and your sacrifice. Thank you for getting it together when you needed to, for picking each other up, for believing in the team and the system and "the process" we hear so much about.
Thank you for screwing up sometimes and then having the stones to own your screw-ups and demand more from yourself on the next shift or the next play.
Thank you for blocking shots, even when you know full well it's going to hurt like a motherfucker. Thank you for clearing rebounds, even if you have to dive into traffic to do it.
Thank you for screening the goalie (a dangerous proposition). Thank you for fighting, punching, being punched, and coming back for more.
Thank you for digging deep and finding that place inside, after three straight grinding days of hockey, that says, "You are NOT tired. You WILL find that extra gear. THIS is important."
Thank you for being leaders; for standing up in front of your peers and saying, "Come on, boys, let's DO this," and then going out and doing it yourself.
Sure, it's just a game. There are a million things more important than what a 6 oz rubber disk is doing on a sheet of ice. But it all comes down to the human spirit. Regardless of the particular adversity in life, the magic that keeps us going is witnessing the triumph of the spirit. To struggle and overcome is how we grow as people. And sports is such a basic way to engage in and celebrate that process.
So, thanks, boys. Give those tired bodies a rest and know that you've done well at something that means an awful lot to a lot of people.