Taking a ride on the Stanley Cup playoffs roller coaster

Cheering for the Penguins Teaches Life Lessons

By the time this issue of The Byzantine Catholic World reaches your mailbox, I’m hoping the Pittsburgh Penguins are well on their way to winning the second round of the 2017 Stanley Cup playoffs.

They defeated the Columbus Blue Jackets in Round 1 and are now facing the Washington Capitals. There’s nothing like the Stanley Cup Playoffs to fill fans like myself with excitement and often dread. Sometimes I’ll overhear people say: “Aren’t the playoffs great?

They are so exciting!” Personally, when you place all your emotions in the basket of the Penguins like I do every spring, “excitement” is not the first word that springs to mind. I just want the final horn to blare as quickly as possible with the scoreboard declaring a Penguins victory so my teeth can give my fingernails a break.

Of course, that’s not the way it ever goes. I’d like the Penguins to win a fifth Stanley Cup in franchise history next month but I’m prepared for the eventuality it won’t happen. It may be difficult to believe but some Penguins fans aren’t used to all the winning they’ve accomplished since Hall-ofFamer Mario Lemieux lifted the first Cup on Minnesota North Stars ice in 1991.

I know my dad never thought they would ever win a championship after enduring the lean, pre-Lemieux years of the early 1980s. He was an original season ticket holder during the Penguins’ inaugural year of 196768 — more than a year before I was born — and I got my love of hockey and the Penguins from him.

We had partial season tickets when Lemieux began his assault on the NHL record books and even traveled to the former Pittsburgh International Airport to see the team bring home their first Stanley Cup. (Well, technically, I guess I only saw the top of the Cup since there were so many people crushing my personal space to get a glimpse for themselves.)   I was thinking the NHL playoffs is a lot like life: lots of ups and downs but it pays to keep your balance and not get too high or too low.

This goes for the players and people like me who will be sitting on the edge of their couch in front of the television.

I’ll try my best.
Let’s go Pens!