I know I said I was done until the game was, but it turns out that I just can't stay away.
2.5 hours until game time. How's your day been? So far, my biggest accomplishment has been forming coherent sentences. I lost count of my near-death heart stoppages once I hit triple digits at approximately noon.
There was a moment earlier in the day when I felt a tinge of jealousy for those "fans of the sport" who had no vested interest in the outcome of Game 7 and just wanted to see a good game. I thought how nice it would be to casually tune in and enjoy it with a blissful sense of detachment, sans life threatening blood pressure issues. Then I snapped out of it faster than a Nick Lidstrom slapper from the point. I realized that this is what I live for. This is how I get my kicks. It's like my own special version of the runner's high. So what if it's literally melting years off of my life expectancy as I type this very sentence? Without days like these, moments like running down Woodward in an early June rainstorm wearing my brand new Cup t-shirt, my hair still shedding confetti from the Joe, screaming at the top of my lungs last year would have no meaning. (It's also important to note that while I was doing this, I was stone-cold sober. I think it provides a better perspective on the effect that the Wings have on my emotional state.)
What really strikes me the most is the finality of it all. I've never been in a situation where I know that it's the absolute last game of the season. There have been games when I expected the season to be over, but it was never a sure thing. Even in the Game 7s I've lived through in the past, there was always wondering when the next round would start if the Wings won or clearing my schedule for the next game a couple of days down the road. I'm not sure I like finality. I'm one of those people who likes to keep my options open and make plans on the fly. This is an entirely new experience for me. May the Hockey Gods help us all.
Going into Game 7, there's very little that I know for sure. And I don't just mean related to hockey. I don't think I could even tell you my home address at this point. I am, however, 100% positive about these things:
-The Joe will be absolutely crazy-nutso tonight, if it isn't already. I wouldn't be surprised if banners start falling from the rafters before the opening faceoff, like some kind of red and white rain of triumph.
-At the end of the game I will be crying, regardless of the outcome. They'll either be tears of joy or sadness, plus a little relief from having survived the ordeal at all. I'm not the slightest bit ashamed to admit this.
-Careers will be defined tonight, one way or another. There are guys on both sides who stand to cement their legacies with a victory tonight, and some who may be made eternal goats if they fail to show up to play.
-My puppy is going to be cowering in a corner before the first intermission. If she can escape the headlock I'm going to have her in, that is.
-The neighbors (if they don't already) are going to question my sanity thanks to my tendency to scream at the top of my lungs. A lot. If they thought Game 7 against Anaheim was obnoxious, they have no idea what's in store for them now.
-These guys will decide which city gets to party: Henrik Zetterberg, Chris Osgood, Nick Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, Marian Hossa, Johan Franzen, Darren Helm, Evegeni Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Jordan Staal, Rob Scuderi, Marc-Andre Fleury, Paul Devorski, and Bill McCreary.
Yeah, I literally have nothing else to say. Somewhere, Dan Bylsma is finishing off his imported lucky burrito. I hope the man enjoys it, because it's been my experience that burritos are not meant to be reheated. I'm too nervous to eat dinner, so I'm going to go commence my traditional fetal position/nausea/bartering with the Hockey Gods routine until it's time for my pre-game Slurpee run. If I never post again, it's fairly safe to assume that the game killed me.