Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thanks Vancouver Canucks!

It has been another exciting year. For the second consecutive year, the Vancouver Canucks ice hockey team has won the President's Trophy as the best team in the regular 82 game series. For the second year, it has failed to win the more coveted Stanley Cup. On Sunday, the entire city was silenced by the overtime goal that clinched the First Round series for the Los Angeles Kings, and knocked out the President's Trophy winners. For many, it was a shock at how an 8th seed team can beat a #1 ranked team in just 5 games. For the more skeptical, it was only a matter of time before the Canucks lose. Again! I have much hope this year, which was one reason why I advocated: "Believe again!" at the beginning of the playoffs. Alas. That was not to be.

Rather than looking back with regret about failed strategies or lost opportunities, I think the better approach is gratitude. For two years, the whole city has been captivated by great winning performances by the Vancouver Canucks. Their powerplay for a long time has been rock solid, becoming the best powerplay team in the league for a fairly long period of time. They united the whole city together. They played good hockey. They have spurred on many organizations and businesses in terms of profits and economic activity. You can tell how passionate the players have been, the coaches, the organizational leaders, and so on. No one play to lose. Everyone tries their best to win. After all, many have even said that the Stanley Cup is the world's most difficult trophy to win. If that is the case, there is no reason to fret. Live to fight another year. If not this year, maybe the next, or sometime in the future.

Honestly, when after watching Game 3 of the Canucks-Kings series, halfway through I feel sick with all the fighting, the shoving, and the violence played out on the ice. It was not skills or player brilliance but bullying of all sorts happening. I wanted to just turn off the TV after that. I thought, if playoff hockey is about violence, fighting, bruising, and bullying, then it is not worth it. Skill is more elegant than size. Strategy is more beautiful than brute force. Playing is better than fighting.

I admit that my heart sank when the Kings scored the Overtime goal. So did many of my friends in Vancouver. Last year was perhaps the closest we can smell the Cup. While many other teams did not even win anything, Vancouver at least got another trophy: The President's Trophy. This too is not an easy feat, considering that it is awarded to the team with the overall best record, just like the top student in schools, or the top prize in any regular season competition. Why lament at the lost when we can cherish and celebrate the achievements?

This is the attitude we need to have. Give thanks for the best efforts. Learn from the mistakes. Have a restful Summer. After all, out of 30 teams, only one can win the Stanley Cup. Likewise, out of 30 teams, only one can win the President's Trophy. The Vancouver Canucks may not have won all the cups. They may have gotten only one, albeit a less prestigious one. Nevertheless, the fighting spirit and the good hockey that has been played out deserves our continued claps.

Two words describe how I feel: "Thank You."


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