Friday, April 11, 2014

The Game of the Century. I Think...

I am and always have been a big sports fan, and I pay attention to all of our local Minnesota teams, even if I am not actually able to watch the games on TV most of the time. If you know anything about Minnesota sports teams, you'll know that for the past, oh, hundred years or so, all of the sports teams in Minnesota have been horrible, or at least excruciatingly mediocre, with a few rare exceptions like the 1987 & 1991 Twins which won the World Series, the Lynx, which have won a couple of recent WNBA titles, and the Gopher hockey teams, which have both won a handful of National Championships. Sure, the Vikings have been to, and lost 4 Super Bowls and a bunch of NFC Championships, but thinking about those losses just makes most Minnesotans want to weep, so let's forget I ever mentioned them.

This year, in particular, looks to be bad for our local teams. The Timberwolves are irritatingly average, despite finally having some good players on the team, the Wild are actually going to make the playoffs, but as a low seed, so they probably won't even win a series, the Vikings were terrible, and the Twins are looking like they will have another last-place finish. The Gopher men's basketball team made a run and won the NIT last week, which was fun, but nobody cares about the NIT except the teams that are in it.

The Gopher men's hockey team made it back to the Frozen Four, though, so the whole state was excited about it. They played last night, in a tough match-up with their old heated rival, the University of North Dakota. Everyone calls North Dakota the Fighting Sioux, even though that nickname has been deemed illegal and the school doesn't actually currently have a nickname. I was able to watch the game last night, and it was a heated battle between two very good teams. The action went up and down the ice for two scoreless periods. Finally, despite being almost totally outplayed for the entire 3rd period, the Gophers got the first score, only to have the Sioux tie it up just 37 seconds later.

There were just a few minutes left, and the Sioux continued to hammer the Gophers' goalie with a relentless array of shots, but nothing got past him. It was a heart-wrenching game to watch, since I knew the next goal would probably be the game-winner, and my beloved Gophers seemed to be fighting a losing battle. At long last North Dakota got what looked to be an amazing advantage: a Gopher player got called for a penalty with under 2 minutes left. The Sioux would have a man advantage for the remainder of the game. Their offense became even more potent, but still they didn't score. Finally, with 9 seconds left, there was a stop in the play. Just then, Toby, our friendly but annoying dog, started to whimper because he had to go outside, and he couldn't hold it any longer. I thought to myself, "Well, self, I might as well go let him out. The best I can hope for in the game is that it will be in overtime when I get back, but the Gophers will probably lose just like all our other local sports teams..." So I went and let the dogs out. I also heard a call from the Wife, who needed something from one of our rooms to be brought into a different room. I was already up and away from the hockey game, so I might as well help.

Eventually I made it back to the game, thinking I would see the North Dakota players and fans reveling in their win. Instead I saw a pile of Gopher players being jubilant in the middle of the rink, a bunch of North Dakota players sobbing on their bench, and the officials checking out the video footage to verify that the Gophers had scored the winning goal with less than a second left on the clock. I couldn't believe it! It was the most unbelievable finish to any hockey game I had ever seen. But I hadn't actually seen it! I was awe-struck and dumb-founded at the same time! And all because of our annoying dogs...Tomorrow night they will definitely be going outside before the game begins, and I think I will make them wear their doggie diapers during the game. Now that I think of it, I better put diapers on all the kids too. Better safe than sorry!
Doggie diapers for everyone! At least during game time... photo courtesy of smalldogclothing.com

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