Monday, June 15, 2015

EXTRA: We’re in a nowhere land when it comes to Chicago sports scene

The Chicago Blackhawks beat Tampa Bay 2-0 on Monday, giving them their third Stanley Cup championship in the past six seasons.

The goal that clinched victory
It has put the Blackhawks in a position where the team of this decade has the potential to become a historically-great hockey team, along with one of the best Chicago sports franchises of all time.

BECAUSE LET’S BE honest. Winning teams is not what Chicago sports is all about. Somebody who can only back a winner would be ever so frustrated if they were forced to root for the professional franchises that come from the Second City.

If anything, the fact about the Blackhawks that makes them a prototypical image for our city isn’t that they won their third Stanley Cup championship in recent years, but that Monday’s victory was the sixth Stanley Cup championship they EVER have won.

Two of them came back in the 1930s, and the third was in 1961.

Which means so many decades of hockey fans are used to coming up short year after year after year.

THE IDEA OF a perennial winner on the ice is something we ought to savor while it lasts. Because none of our teams has that New York Yankees-like aura where it is expected that when the team gets old, they will figure out a way to rebuild.

Our teams never get to that level, and are filled with countless players who never managed to live up to their potential.

He gave the Hawks the lead
Perhaps it is because I came of age in the 1970s, when the baseball scene was year after year of seeing which baseball team would stink the joint out worse than the other and where the Chicago Bears would think it a completely successful, potentially even historic, season, if they made it to the first round of the playoffs before getting knocked out of contention.

I still remember that very scenario from 1977 and the way Bears fans got all worked up at the thought of even being in a playoff game.

NOW I KNOW the Bears went on to win that Super Bowl following the 1985 season. Although the fact that quality Bears teams were unable to follow up with another championship is more the norm.

A memorable moment a decade later
Just as the Chicago White Sox are still flying that lone 2005 World Series title banner because they didn’t win another.

But which looks downright outstanding considering how the Chicago Cubs haven’t even accomplished that much!

I’m not a big hockey fan (baseball and soccer in the form of equipo Mexico, along with college basketball of the Illinois Wesleyan Titans of my alma mater are my rooting interests). But I realize how unique it is for one of Chicago’s teams to come up with a “three titles in six years” streak.

IT CERTAINLY SHOWS how incredibly off-the-wall it was for the Chicago Bulls to win two streaks of three straight NBA titles during the 1990s. A taste of Yankee-esque attitude for the city still remembered for having one of its teams getting caught throwing a World Series (even if eight ballplayers were eventually acquitted in court).

The fact that the Bulls have won nothing since, and in some seasons have become such a disgrace to the local sports scene, is more in line with the character of the Chicago sports scene.

Still waiting 3 decades later for another Super Bowl title
So it is with some sense of joy that we should perceive the Blackhawks’ victory (and think that those killjoys from Nashville, Tenn.; Anaheim, Calif.; and Tampa/St. Petersburg, Fla., all tried to take down da Hawks and turn them into some sort of bully in need of a beating).

Because it’s just a matter of time not all that far off in the future that the Blackhawks will be back to mediocrity and “2014-15” will be just another banner hanging from the rafters at the United Center that fans manage to ignore while sitting in costly seats and guzzling down overpriced concessions.


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