Well, here we are. We’ve got a series again! Best-of-3 games with two of the three on the road…if the 3rd game is needed. Thanks to Nashville coming up big when the stakes were their highest in Games 3 and 4, tonight’s Game 5 will be huge and on Friday, we’ll know who’ll have an opportunity to skate Lord Stanley’s Cup at Bridgestone for Game 6 on Sunday.
Because the Preds won both games here in Nashville on Saturday and Monday, Game 6 becomes necessary, which means the Preds faithful are guaranteed one more opportunity to cheer on the team that has taken the hockey world by storm. There will be one more opportunity for the hockey world to descend to Tennessee’s capital to broadcast to all that Nashville is, in fact, a hockey town. To add to the pageantry, Nashville will be concluding what some consider their marquee event: CMA Fest.
There has always been a possibility that the two events could collide, but in years past, it’s the Predators who have found themselves on the outside looking in. With their first trip the Stanley Cup Final, hockey in June has had an opportunity to create a vortex of excitement downtown.
And now, Sunday, the fans will have a chance to see either their Predators or the Pittsburgh Penguins hoist the 35-pound chalice right before their very eyes. Thursday will determine who that team will be.
But, regardless of the events on Thursday night, Sunday is your time, Nashville. You’ve spent the last 4 days in the spotlight and you’ve made it shine brighter than the sun in August. On the 11th, you will have an opportunity to say thank you to the greatest hockey team the Mid-South has ever seen.
So much as been said about the noise levels and the excitement and the players recognize the cheering during warm-ups, which many have indicated they’ve never heard before. The Final allows for media from all walks of life, bringing the most insane lines of questioning. Perhaps the best was listening to head coach, Peter Laviolette describe his favorite chant being where the crowd responds “sucks” after the opposing players are announced.
They get it. The players, coaches, staff…they all get it. The 7th man is not just a PR stunt. It’s a real, live, growing being that when fed properly and shown love, will grow like a Gremlin with a steak and potatoes at 12:01 AM. And now it’s time for dessert.
Regardless of what the next two games bring, you have one more opportunity. Like back in high school…there was that guy or girl that you were just in love with, but too shy to say anything during the year. It’s the last day before summer and here’s your shot to tell him/her how absolutely amazing they are and how just being in the same room with them from time to time has brought you the greatest joy.
Regardless of what happens, it’s best to fall back on Dr. Seuss during moments of extreme emotion (both positive and negative); Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened. However, if all goes well, there will be crying and smiling because “it” happens.