Friday, April 13, 2012

A Call To Arms

Friends, I don't know what to say, really. I might start off by saying that I'm still dismayed over the loss dealt to the Penguins on Wednesday night. I might start off by saying that I really do not know what to expect tonight.

Instead, I think I will bring up a speech delivered by my personal hero, Theodore Roosevelt. Moments before the speech, the former President, governor, prolific writer, and war hero had been attacked by a man named John Schrank, who believed that the ghost of former President William McKinley had visited him and told him to assassinate Roosevelt. He succeeded in shooting Roosevelt, but did not succeed in killing him. As Roosevelt staggered onto the stage, he waved to the crowd, asking them to quiet down for him. 

"Ladies and gentlemen, I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose," he said, firmly cementing himself as the most badass man to ever walk this earth. Roosevelt continued to speak for an hour and a half, despite promising to only give a short speech.

He deduced that he would be able to give his speech because, as an avid hunter, he knew that he was not in immediate danger, as he was not coughing up blood.

Fellow Pens fans, we must realize now that we, as a whole, are not yet coughing up blood. We will not merely back down and call off the fight. We will not promise to shorten the battle, but will instead rage on past the constraints of time expected of us, much as Roosevelt did on that day in 1912. 

People say to me sometimes, "why do you refer to the Penguins as "we," when you are not one of the men on the ice". This is a good question, but as is true with many questions, good and bad, it is easily answered. Without the fans, there is no team. The fans pay the money, watch the games, and scream in the crowd. As such, this battle is not won by the 20 on the ice, but by the thousands everywhere. 

I know of Penguins fans in Pittsburgh, Boston, Nashville, New York, San Jose, Washington, Erie, and yes, Philadelphia, among others. I also know of fans in Belgium, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Russia, the UK, and China. The fight for the Cup is not decided in one building, but in many. 

It is also not decided in one game. Teams will snatch victory from defeat, and will toss victory away at the welcome sight of a rest. That is what we got from the Penguins the other night. It is unfortunate that such a thing should happen in the first game of the playoffs, much as it would be unfortunate that it should happen in any game of the playoffs. 

When the Penguins lost the first two games against the Capitals in 2009, it seemed like that was the end. When they lost the first two games against the Red Wings that same year, the feeling returned. In the end, we were left with the image of Sidney Crosby lifting the Cup, handing it to Bill Guerin, and the final image of Mario Lemieux lifting it for a third time as the owner of the team. 

Do not give up yet. The Penguins have a lot of fight in them. Be loud, be optimistic, and be ready for anything. It's a long road to June.