Every time I open my glove compartment I get really sad.
Inevitably when I open the glove compartment to get my registration, flask or some hilarious mixture of both, tickets for last year’s sunday quarterfinal at BC fall out. Every feeling of disappointment, hope and eventual sadness are relived for a moment, as I think what could have been.
Well, welcome to the rematch. Same place, same time, entirely different situation.
Last year’s team was one that had great potential to win in the now, but, in hindsight, was falling apart. Casey and Jimmy had checked out for months, and the team was in a swoon of Metsonian proportion. Still, especially after the sweep in Orono to end the season, I convinced myself this team was going to wake up and play like they played at the beginning of the season. Long story short, they didn’t, and I remember the feeling of driving in the pouring rain saturday night knowing what a wasted opportunity it was. It was my first year as a hockey fan, first year at UMass and the first transcendent love of a college sports team. I will never feel as connected to a team as I did last year, and having it end in such a fashion hurt. Badly.
This year is different. Slowly turned cynical by realist prospectives, the overwhelming passion for this team quelled with the exception of a few T shirt games (BTW, nice job showing up on senior night assholes. 50% turnout is not acceptable) we watched a young team grow over the season. The emergence and disappearance of certain players (Rowe a healthy scratch on the last game of the season, tell that to October you and watch his mind be blown) and the breakout of some youngsters (I’m looking at you King Phillips) has made this team interesting. And here we are at nearly the same spot as last year, No swoon, just a solid few weeks of hockey where a young team played up to their competition. Its been hard to see so many oh-so-close losses, but its been a hell of a lot better than seeing a team show absolutely nothing (case in point: last year’s team second half/this year’s team during the weekend that shall not be named). This team has potential, and has shown that it can play with the best teams in the nation consistently, However, often being the case, the best they can do isn’t good enough.
So here we are. I will be attending next weekend’s games. My expectations will be low, along the same lines as when I saw Bob Dylan play in Amherst last fall. I went in knowing he was no longer great, but hoping, not expecting, they he would show me something. I got what I expected, a past his prime person I respect immensely being a shell of his former self playing songs I love in an unfamiliar way. Yawn, happy to be there. But then he launched into a powerful, faithful rendition of ballad of a thin man. It was amazing, and it was well worth the price of admission. This is the attitude I’m keeping with this team. I know full well that I could be paying to see an experienced team I hate dissect a young team I love deeply. But maybe, UMass can come out with 60 minutes of intense hockey, and catch BC on a bad night. Perhaps, again, the gods would be so kind as to have this happen twice. I’m not expecting it, but I’m hoping for them to show something.
At the end of the day, I’d be happy to not have to carry around another pair of tickets for an event that never happened.