After a few days of gathering my thoughts and getting my emotions in check, I am still furious with the Rangers. For 22 years I have had a lot of emotions bottled up inside me, anger, jealousy, sadness, frustration, you name it. For 22 years I have watched teams other than my own celebrate championships. Four times a year a major sport crowns a champion, never once a team I root for. So with the Rangers playing in the Stanley Cup Finals, the biggest stage the hockey world has to offer, you can’t help but to think it might be the time where the stars align for you, for once. Damn it I haven’t even seen one of my teams play in the championship since 2000. Watching my team play for the title was a rare, exciting feeling. But they blew it. They came up short, and I am not okay with it.
The series was much closer than the 4-1 final count, that’s obvious. But it doesn’t matter. The Rangers played pretty well overall. But that is so irrelevant. If the Kings swept the Rangers winning every game 6-0, it’s the same result. If the series went 7 games with the last being decided in 3 overtimes in favor of LA, it’s the same result. The Rangers came in second place, and I’m sorry I cannot be proud of that. Was it awesome watching them in the cup while Devils fans and Flyers fans sat at home in jealousy? Absolutely. But none of them are champions, and that’s what matters. I think the worst part for me is seeing fellow Ranger fans express their acceptance of what happened. How can you be proud of the Rangers accomplishments? They accomplished another season of coming up short. Why do we accept mediocrity? That’s what losing is. Losing is mediocre. It might be good, but not good enough. “Proud of a great season”? A great season ends with first place. The Rangers exceeded expectations, they played well and showed glimpses of greatness. They seemed to be built for the title, and they shocked millions. But for what? For “not first place”. Sorry, I am not okay with that. Losing doesn’t bode well for me.
These are feelings from over 2 decades of not being the top dog. I’ve gotten used to losing at this point, but it hurts more and more every time. For anyone who has seen one of their teams win a championship, losing in the finals should be just as difficult if not more. You’ve seen your team win, you know how great the feeling is. How can you be okay with anything other than that? Every fan is going to handle losses differently. Some people can get over it really easily, and that’s fine. It doesn’t mean you’re not a true fan by any means. But being proud of second place I will never understand. It’s all about winning, and it’s all about championships. That’s what’s important.