Perhaps the single-worst thing about being a sports fan in Chicago is the pure terror that accompanies the fall from grace. The feeling one experiences as he or she rides the “El” into the loop knowing you can do nothing about your team’s eventual demise has been known to cause heartburn, dementia, depression and truancy. It’s also responsible for the city’ legendary consumption of — umm — Deep Dish Pizza?
Take the beloved Chicago Bears last season. On November 11th the “Monsters of the Midway” were 7-1 and had a home game on national television versus the Houston Texans. It was widely believed the Bears defense was best in the NFL and that, barring a total collapse, the team was a lock for at least a wild card.
During the next two months the wind off Lake Michigan never blew colder for millions of concerned citizens who just knew the Bears couldn’t hang on. Except maybe in 2011, when they coughed up five of their last six.
And after all that suffering they dumped Brian Urlacher.
Remember that scene in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves when the Sheriff of Nottingham threatens to cut out Robin’s heart with a spoon?
Of course you do.
The Chicago Cubs sat in their St. Louis hotel rooms on the evening of April 13th feeling good after a big win against their archrival. The team was 3-5 and was in position to show the city that the rebuilding process was fully under way. Then they went ahead and lost six in a row and firmly established themselves as dumpster kings. What followed was five months of some of the worst big-market professional baseball in history. Every day, north-siders woke up to the pain of another season of failure and the bad breath of their south-side neighbors who thrived on their misery.
Meanwhile, would you believe down at “The Cell” these same Chicago White Sox fans had the division lead on Sept. 1st?
Yup. Choke up on that club young man.
The moral of the story is that here in the “Second City” the sky is always falling, and therefore it is with much fanfare that I am announcing the Chicago Blackhawks need to shift into panic mode RIGHT NOW.
Sure they’ve won six of their last ten. Sure they have 10 of their last 17 at home. Yes the Anaheim Ducks have cooled off and lost their last three. In fact, if every team in the Western Conference won their next eight games while the Hawks forfeit theirs and left for Cabo San Lucas, they’d still be in the playoffs.
But none of this matters you see, because tonight at the United Center every man, woman and child in the building is going to be in full blown panic mode.
Does it matter that the Calgary Flames are 0-10-1 in their last 11 at the UC? Does it matter that the Flames haven’t won a road game in over five weeks? Does it matter goalie Miika Kiprusoff’s 3.43 GAA is 28th in the NHL out of 30?
Armageddon’s upon us!! Where’s Bruce Willis!
I have tickets to the game tonight and as much as I’d like to head down to the “Madhouse on Madison” to watch the Hawks right the ship against the lowly Flames, I think I might opt to catch the game on my couch.
You see, if the Flames score first tonight everyone in the building loses a finger — and I’ve got a deadline tomorrow.