As many of us watch the Stanley Cup Final, we have mixed feelings about what is unfolding in the world of hockey and what our Sharks must do this summer to continue their chances of contending for another season. Many envy the Kings who are led by former Sharks coach Darryl Sutter and assembled by former Sharks GM Dean Lombardi. Some are calling for the perceived "lack of production" Marleau to be traded for "could be" Rick Nash or other trades involving names like Boyle or Niemi. And there is also the smearing campaign from people including some of our own fans joined by rival fans and media critics who still haven’t grown tired of bad-labeling the Sharks with the usual cliché.
If the Kings end up with their names imprinted on the Cup this summer, keep in mind they have suffered more than twice as long as we have. The bandwagoners who start trolling us will act as if they are an all invincible team who has never endured hardship but are suddenly better than everyone else.
Let’s all remember something very important. EVERY team that has ever won the Stanley Cup once went through a period of time when they had 0 (yes, zero) championships to their name, just like the Sharks. Those who label us as ‘disappointments’ forget that the Canadiens were ‘disappointments’ from 1909 to 1916, the Red Wings were the same from 1926 to 1936, the Bruins from 1924-1929, the Blackhawks from 1926-1934 (keep in mind, there were only 6 teams in the league back then). The Flyers from 1967-1974, the Oilers from 1972-1984, the Islanders from 1972-1980, the Penguins from 1967-1991, the Flames from 1972-1989, and the Devils from 1974-1995. I’m willing to bet the critics don’t extend the same courtesy they give the Sharks to teams like the Blues, Senators or Canucks. I’ve heard from some people that the media likes to hate on Bay Area teams. I think it’s also because of Jumbo; he was the #1 overall pick by a well-storied franchise; he was expected by the media to be some sort of Sidney Crosby or Patrick Kane figure who would deliver big results in the short-term and since he hasn’t won the Cup yet, he gets smeared by the media and their rationale behind it is just plain ignorant. They call themselves ‘experts’ yet they don’t even seem to understand what the concept of TEAM SPORT actually means. Nor do they seem to know that 29 teams ‘fall short’ by their standards every year yet only one of them is a disappointment. No one, no player, coach, general manager, has ever gotten it right the first time; there's no guarantees even beyond that. The only way you learn to succeed is by enduring failure.
Being a sports fan from San Diego who has endured the hardships of seeing the pro sports teams down here be so ‘disappointing’ for many years, I have formed a great desire to see my college town team just make it to the Stanley Cup Final. This is a team that taught me what it really means to be a pure, devoted sports fan, and what team sports are actually about; they were with me throughout my journey towards an education that enabled me to build an identity for myself. To be honest, I’m glad I must wait to see Team Teal lift Lord Stanley; the journey towards such glory must be preceded by many years of coming up short because that only reaffirms the sweetness of achieving such a feat, and I want to be a part of that. You can’t have good days unless you’ve had bad days.
The only thing I won’t like about the Sharks winning the Cup is the number of people out there who have never even set foot in San Jose that will go out and buy a piece of Sharks apparel the moment Team Teal wins it all; then pass themselves off as long time teal bleeders and rub it in the face of hockey fans elsewhere. I don’t care much for fair-weather fans because they are like gold-diggers who get married to celebrities.
My question is, what does it mean to you, to see our Sharks win the Cup?