Tuesday, April 29, 2014
Gallos Doles Out Some Brewskis
And as always we thank "Light the Lamp" for the CBJ beers meme. LTL disappeared down the rabbit hole of parenthood, and is off spawning and rearing future Blue Jackets Fans. We know what that means in these parts, because that is part of the whole Columbus thing. It is, without any doubt, a great place to raise your family.
But, as is fairly normal, I digress.
What a season! What a playoff run! Yes, losing to the flightless seabirds of yinzer land is ignominious, but our team did it in a style and fashion that forced a better team to take a look in the mirror. And, that's the beauty of the playoffs. You know your team got a fair shake at proving they were better than the other guy. There is an upper tier of teams that are ready to compete for a Stanley Cup, and the Penguins are one of those teams, sporting two of the best players in this era of hockey, and having already won a Stanley Cup. It would be foolish to suggest that our beloved CBJ run in those circles. We are, however, firmly entrenched in that next tier that is ready to compete for making the playoffs each year.
I want to celebrate this position, because these things can be fleeting. 2009-10 is a good reminder that a return to the playoffs is not automatic. Just ask the Islanders, who made the playoffs in 2012-13, but lost their starting goal tender to injury in mid-season, and their star player to injury in the Olympics. These are long seasons fraught with uncertainty, and organizational depth, and a willingness to have an unparalleled work ethic are hedges against that uncertainty. And, fortunately, the key to the CBJ fans heart! If the work is there, and you ain't got it, so be it. But if you put the work in, and get the results, this fan base will back you a long way. So with all that said, let's dole out a few brews!!!
1. My first CBJ Beers go to the 2013-14 Columbus Blue Jackets Hockey Club. A team is more than a collection of individuals. It is an opportunity to be greater than the sum of your parts. And this team was able to accomplish that. The beauty of a team, is that it helps to absorb the vicissitudes of adversity, and where adversity at times singles out an individual, the team is a safety net to help absorb that shock. This team exemplified this dynamic throughout the year, and certainly had more than their share of adversity. Yet they came out of the year as the highest performing team in franchise history on so many, many fronts.
As a fan, this was a fantastic year. It was extremely entertaining for the vast majority of the season, and the playoff chase was scintillating. You may have a better team Yinzers, but I bet we had more fun this year! And the playoffs? Mama mia! That was some kinda fun! Not without its stressful moments, but that is what makes is so fun!
2. My second CBJ Beers go to Jarmo Kekalainen and John Davidson. Because now you know. Last year, at the Nashville game, they came away thinking that was a loud barn, and what a good thing they had here. And I bit my tongue. Because I knew how much better it really could be, and they got a very, very graphic exhibition of everything that Nationwide Arena can be. So, I'm not sure if you guys like beer or not, so to help you out, these CBJ brewskis are redeemable for a pair of socks. Cause I know Nationwide Arena blew yours off.
3. My third CBJ Beers is given in gratitude to the CBJ fans. I really, deep down, felt this team had earned the ovation that you gave them at the end of Game 6. At perhaps the hardest moment for the players, you came through and rewarded them for what they had accomplished. The hurt of that final loss will diminish for the players over time, lost in the wash of new competitions, but they will never forget that sound. They earned it. Thank you for having my back on this, because you delivered in the biggest way possible.
4. My fourth CBJ Beer goes to Nick Foligno. Late last May, when I was on the last day of rehabilitation from serious knee surgery, I came down to a 'Front Street Friday', and you were signing autographs. I was in line behind Dancing Kevin, and after you had signed 'the belly', it was my turn. I thanked you, as a season ticket holder, for the run at the end of the truncated 2012-13 season. And your response to me was to get that fire in your eyes, and say emphatically 'we'll be better next year!!!' Good call there Nick. You guys were better, and then some. So once again I say to you Nick Foligno, as a season ticket holder, I'd like to thank you for all you did this season. You guys were really fun to watch and it was great to be part of your season. And I hope you answer me the same way.
5. My fifth CBJ Beer goes to Ryan Johansen. 33 goals Joey. What, 2 in the playoffs? You had a great year Joey. But Crosby and Malkin got to you in the playoffs. So you know where you need to aspire to get to. It took them awhile to get to the level they are at, it will take you a bit too, so don't be impatient. But don't be content either. We know well here in Columbus that one superstar does not a team make. But you are a part of the fabric of this team, and you did what you did in the context of the team. Hold on to that. It will take you far.
6. My sixth CBJ adult beverage goes to my comrade in arms, Tom, The Dark Blue Jacket. Speaking of disappearing down the rabbit hole of parenting. That rabbit hole represents a very worthwhile endeavor, one that is worthy of your time, energy and thought. You give a lot of yourself, yes, but that never defines who you are. It is a stage of life, just like being an old fart. So there it is. Do what you need to do, but never lose sight of who you are, and don't miss those opportunities to remind yourself of who you are.
I'm sure I'll be doling out more beers soon. I'm in a good mood. This team was all one could ask for as a hockey fan. I am content. For now. But there is some sort of silvery shadow in the back of my mind that is making me restless......