Thursday, May 14, 2015

A hockey novena.

Saw a fellow I know going through a parking lot of a church; he might have been walking through, but when I looked again he was gone.

He is the biggest New York Rangers fan I know.

The Rangers were facing game seven against the Washington Capitals last night; winner to move on to the Eastern Conference Finals against Tampa Bay.

He's Catholic, but hasn't been observant since childhood. There's only one explanation, though:

He went to light a candle for the Rangers.


No doubt there was a request for intervention to St. Sebastian, the patron of athletes.

Hockey fans are ferociously loyal. They say New York is a baseball town, and it's true, but it's also got enough rabid fans to spread the ferocity to the other three major sports. Beyond that it's a little more sketchy, but we do host the U.S. Open because of the historic fondness for tennis in the city and its environs, as well as the oldest leg of the Triple Crown. We've also got pro soccer and a WNBA team, but frankly, NASCAR seems to be more popular around here than they are, and auto racing, like college sports, are virtually nothing in New York City. Why? Because we have no room for a race track anymore, and our colleges have sucked at sports for a very long time. (Yes, St. John's men's basketball is an exception, but they haven't been to the finals of the NCAA tournament since 1952, when they lost to Kansas.)

At the moment, hockey is king. I've known fervent Devils and Islanders fans, but nothing compares to the insane devotion of the Rangers fan. Yankees fans are known for their devotion, but at least they can point to the success of their evil franchise. Rangers fans have won one Stanley Cup since 1940, and that date (1994!!!!!!!) will be etched on their tombstones, like this:

ROBERT XAVIER "BOB" SCHLERNMER

Beloved Husband, Father, Rangers Fan

1994!!
1956 -      ^       - 2035

And what the heck---the candle worked. The Rangers won in OT, and will advance to the next round. If it's the middle of May and 80 degrees it must be hockey season, and against Tampa Bay, no less. (Rule for when I get appointed king remains: If you never have ice at wintertime, you don't deserve a hockey team.)

So St. Sebastian, if you're listening, the Mets have lost three in a row to the Cubs and are in danger of being swept today---after a brilliant start to the season they've crashed and now it looks like they may burn. They're looking like terrified rabbits at the plate, and they've gone back to the old Met habit of not hitting with runners in scoring position. Anything you can do...?


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