Wednesday, August 11, 2010

This is Our Year, This is Our Year, This is Our Year, This is Our Year

I have been alive for a score and some bits, and I have been a Canucks fan for all of them. I have seen my fair share of disappointment, heartbreak, and failure, and I believe that primary reason for this is that's all the Canucks have done so far. Sure, they have made a few finals, but what is their legacy? Dramatic losses, collapses, chokes, letdowns... For most of the last 40 years, the Canucks have been a lovable room of schlubs who occasionally rise above themselves. When they make headway into proving they're so much more than that, somebody breaks somebody else's neck or something and everything comes toppling back to earth.

And yet I keep plucking that chicken (NSFW, but hilarious), because one day, I believe, they're inevitably going to win the Stanley Cup, and the half-century of heartbreak will just be a charming footnote on the way to their inevitable glory. No, David Cassidy, it won't be forever. It's going to happen very soon. This is what we all think, but it's not just that. We think it's going to happen next year, every year. I used to wish that I would meet a genie, and I would ask him to tell me when the Canucks were going to win the Stanley Cup. Later on, this alarmed me: in my heart of hearts, I always assumed it was soon, that the genie would say it was coming within the next three years, of course. But what if it wasn't for twenty years? Would I still be a fan during the years I knew for a fact they weren't going to win? If Marty McFly gave you his Sports Almanac, and you discovered the Canucks weren't going to win a Stanley Cup in this next decade, would you still follow the team during the futility? I don't know. I don't know if any of us would. I think our Canucks fandom is based less on the love of sports and more on the presumption that we've hit rock bottom so many times, this has to be (it has to be! it has to be!) our year. If we knew for a fact we were going to spend many more years licking boot, would we stick around?

In this way, I think Canucks fans are different from regular sports fans. Canucks fans are held together by a grand promise of the future. It's been forty years; it couldn't be many more, we say, and that depressing thought is the backdoor to a stupid optimism. Yes, we're blind to ourselves, we're ignorant, we're overly optimistic, and we are prone to irrational mood swings, but that's because we're tapped out and we think the universe is too. Our glory is imminent. Canucks fans are that lady who hangs around the slot machines for hours and jumps in once someone else realizes they've wasted a ton of time. This thing has to pay out soon, we say. It has to. Tommy Larscheid's retirement has all the Vancouver media guys reflecting on how long they've been working with this team, waiting for one thing, and when it might finally happen. And be honest: we all think it might happen this year; this is our year. It definitely is, said my heart.


  1. More interesting, I think, in your genie story, is that you didn't wish that the Canucks would actually win the Stanley Cup; you only asked when it would happen. There's an element of blind optimism in that very question.

  2. Well, see, I want it to be real. If the genie grants my wish and the Canucks win the Stanley Cup, part of me will never be satisfied, because I won't know if they could have done it without my wish. I want Little Big League, not Angels in the Outfield.


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