I start this with a disclaimer: I am not a cryer. Unless it’s a Pixar movie, I’m not going to shed tears. This week’s theme is very difficult for me because, like the Marvel week (I know, I know, laugh at the DC fan and our misery) I don’t have a lot of experience with crying at sports. I have experience screaming so loudly that my neighbors should’ve called the police for a wellness check - I’ve done this both in joy and frustration.
Until a little under a year ago, most of the frustrating yells have been directed at the Blues. They’ve done much, very much, to make me put my head in my hands and sigh, to turn off the TV in rage, and to just sit and stare blankly at a wall. They’ve traded my favorite childhood players in the cruelest manner (see: CuJo), they’ve dealt franchise cornerstones, and they’ve taken great moments - overtime victory goals! Knocking the Blackhawks out of the playoffs! - and then promptly squandered them. They’ve done so much, but they’ve never made me cry.
A year ago at this time, we were waiting for game two of the Stanley Cup Final. A year ago, most of us were on a roller coaster of emotions that tested our resolve as fans. Should we just be happy the Blues got an invitation to the dance? Should we be dreading the next game? And then the game after that? What happens if they win? Is it ok to be optimistic? If they have to have a game seven, is it over? Do they go home as just Western Conference Champions?
Do we sit in resigned silence yet again?
Thankfully, we never had to deal with that last part.
When the Blues won the Stanley Cup, I was at my parents’ house on the couch. I left St. Louis after game six frustrated with the team blowing an opportunity at home to raise the Cup, but I also didn’t hang around because I knew that if the Blues won the Cup, I’d have to be with Mom. She’s been a Blues fan since their first season, since she was 8 years old. She’s been waiting her entire life for this - of course, so have I, but she wins that contest.
As the game went on, and the Blues kept scoring, I felt a weird sense of relief. That this time would be different. That Mom would get to see something she never expected to see in her lifetime - because that’s just how we’ve been conditioned. Hell, I always expected to at least be retired when it happened, but I still couldn’t hold them to even that.
The clock wound down. Pop asked Mom if she was crying, and she couldn’t even answer him.
I don’t know if the Blues winning or seeing my mother so happy is what finally made me cry, but I did. And then I smiled, and I don’t think that smile left my face for a week.