I’m sure someone is going to try to claim that Tuesday is a day of great history for the Chicago sports scene. Those are probably the same people who perennially think the Chicago Cubs are pennant contenders.
It’s not quite as dramatic for the Chicago Bulls. But if they win Tuesday night, they too will be able to make the same claim – advancing to the next level of the National Basketball Association playoffs.
Two winning teams – which will go a long way to make up for the fact that the Chicago White Sox the past two weeks have had such a flop that they went from second place to last within their division.
Of course, if both the Blackhawks and Bulls manage to lose in the second round of their respective playoffs, then what happens Tuesday isn’t going to amount to much.
INSOFAR AS HOCKEY is concerned, the sports pundits already are pronouncing the Vancouver Canucks deceased. After all, any team that gets to within one win of taking that round of the playoffs, then gives up that entire advantage probably deserves to lose.
Yet my thoughts on this is the evidence that I came of age in the 1970s, when ALL of the Chicago sports teams were trash and a barely winning season (such as the White Sox of 1972 or 1977) was considered something of great historic significance.
To me, it would be totally in character of a Chicago sports team to make a comeback from the edge of defeat to tie up the series, only THEN to blow Game Seven and lose the playoff series.
So I’m not counting out the Canucks (a phrase that in certain contexts can be almost as absurd and offensive as the Atlanta Crackers baseball team of the old Southern Asssociation). Although it would be interesting to see a Blackhawks team achieve that accomplishment that rarely happens in any sport (winning a best-of-seven game series after losing the first three games).
I’M ALSO WARY of the Bulls, who will be occupying the United Center on Tuesday (the Blackhawks are playing their Tuesday game in Vancouver, B.C.) for their game.
The Bulls are taking on our Midwestern neighbors, the Indiana Pacers, in their first playoff round, and they managed to win the first three games – only to lose Game 4, thereby keeping alive the hopes of Hoosiers who’d like to think their team isn’t dead.
The scary thing, to me at least, is that maybe it isn’t.
Because I can’t help but see Tuesday as a must-win for the Bulls as well. Admittedly, the Bulls could come back and win Game 6 and take the series, even if they lose Tuesday night.
YET I CAN’T help but think that if the Pacers manage to win Tuesday, they gain a momentum and could very well be inspired enough to make that same comeback that Blackhawks fans are hoping their team makes against Vancouver.
THAT would be totally in character of a Chicago sports team – taking their team to the brink of victory, only to see it ultimately wind up in defeat.
The mental and emotional health status of many a Chicagoan will only be satisfied if there is a Blackhawks victory combined with a Bulls victory – and both teams advance to the second rounds of their respective playoffs.
Of course, that Blackhawks victory would shatter the emotional status of a 4-year-old girl. Violet is a Canucks hockey fan who has put her desire for a Blackhawks defeat to song. Then again, those of us whose lives go up and down with the fate of Chicago sports teams had our emotional status shattered long ago.
SO WE’LL EAGERLY welcome her to the club.
So what should we think? As much as some people are thinking it a big deal to have both of these “big” games on the same day (and at nearly the same time), I can’t help but think that the fact that the NBA Finals and Stanley Cup championships won’t be played for another couple of months makes this a whole lot of nuthin’ that will be forgotten about two weeks from now.
Which is why I’ll be watching yet a different game – the one involving the White Sox making their only trip (most likely) this season to the building posing as Yankee Stadium. Seeing if the Yankees will continue to keep the White Sox down, or if the Sox will finally snap out of their funk and quit playing like the dreadful ballclub that has gone 2-10 in recent days (after starting the season at 7-4).