COLUMN: Enjoy The Ride

I’m a Twitter guy. I enjoy the friendly debates, the live tweeting during games, the breaking news; I enjoy it all. Even the people’s opinions that are…questionable. Hot takes, if you will.

I came across one this past week that just floored me. It wasn’t from some random faceless person. It came from someone that actually has a job in Pittsburgh sports media.

Now, I’m not going to name this guy. This isn’t a column to stoop and slam garbage takes, but it made me realize something. It made me realize something that will help all Penguins fans and make this season much more enjoyable.

This tweet said that the same people that criticize the Pirates, and that it’s getting old, fault to criticize the Penguins’ “playoff failures” in the Crosby/Malkin era. Another tweet from this guy shortly after said that one could argue that the Penguins are boring.

If back to back Stanley Cups are boring, then I’ll gladly be bored out of my mind every year if they can pull it off.

Now, I thought about it for a while. I can see how people could get a little stale with the Penguins. I mean, how much better can it be to win back to back Cups? Sure, a three-peat would be amazing, but nothing beats the first time you win the Cup. The gap between the 2009 and 2016 Cups made everyone in Pittsburgh thirsty for another Cup. It solidified Sidney Crosby‘s legacy and finally gave Pittsburgh the multiple Cups that this talented core of players should’ve won. But now that they’ve won back to back, three total, what more is there to be excited about?

The chance for another Cup is exciting, for sure. No denying that. People should also know that the chances of that happening are getting slimmer and slimmer every year. This year the Penguins’ biggest foes are fatigue, scheduling, and backup goaltending. If the Penguins don’t win it this year, it won’t be a big surprise.

And that’s ok.

As a matter of fact, I’m going to recommend something to every Pens’ fan that I did in the 2015-2016 season. Yes, the Penguins won the Cup that year, but early on, it didn’t look like it. Remember when Mike Johnston was the coach? Remember when Crosby looked like a player that would never look like an MVP again? Or when the Penguins couldn’t score? Yeah, it was a bleak time.

Then, my realization. It hit me. I love this team. Them winning or not winning will not change that. So, I let go of all expectations to win. I was just going to support this team, win or lose. When you take away expectations to win, you get to enjoy the game more. You see how beautiful the game is and how great the players are on this team.

So this year, let go of the expectation. If they win, awesome. And they very well could. They have a good enough team to do it. If they don’t, it’s not a failure. It sure isn’t boring. Let’s just enjoy this team for who they are. All of these characters that we love. Enjoy the ride.

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