By Jeff Girod
My Los Angeles Kings are in the Stanley Cup Finals!!! And I couldn’t be happier. Dare I say it—while wiping a parental-like tear from my eye—prouder.
I remember the glorious excitement when the Kings won a crucial playoff game in overtime, advancing to the Stanley Cup Finals. Actually I have to imagine the excitement because I didn’t watch any of the game. Truth be told, I have not watched a solitary moment of any Kings game this year—preseason, regular season or playoffs.
But I may have read some hockey fan’s Facebook status about the Kings, something along the lines of “Go Kings, WOOOOT!” And let me tell you, friend, there has never been a finer hockey-related moment in my lifetime.
And as long we’re being entirely truthful . . . I have never watched a Kings game—ever—or any hockey-related competition, exhibition, movie or video game, or even glanced at a sporting goods display with a puck in it. Just the idea of rollerblading or crushed ice makes me nauseous.
But none of this pre-Stanley Cup Final truth telling should make me any less of a Kings fan. In some ways, it makes me more of a fan than someone who watches all the games, can recite all the pinkish, bearded players or knows the difference between a hip check and a hat trick.
My tiny kernel of eternal hockey optimism burning bright has sustained me, lo these many decades, right up to this very point when the Los Angeles Kings are just moments away from claiming what may become their first world championship. (That’s according to Wikipedia, because, again, I can’t emphasize enough how little I have invested into any of this.)
See, this is the way to be a fan: Follow sports you have never previously cared about and cheer only when their overwhelming success is virtually guaranteed. It costs nothing, gives you an enormous amount of free time and you don’t even have to learn any foreign-sounding names.
In the past, I have actually rooted for other Los Angeles franchises—the Lakers, Dodgers, UCLA football—and look what it’s gotten me. Those limp bananas stink worse than Lindsay Lohan’s acting career.
No, this is better. Don’t waste one second rooting for anybody else. Ignore everyone and everything. Remain completely self-centered. Then, when anything else succeeds, jump on that bandwagon with both feet like you found it in the dirt and raised it as orphan like Sandra Bullock in The Blind Side.
I just discovered that the Los Angeles Galaxy won a soccer championship more than six months ago. I’m practically gleeful. To celebrate, I typed the last three paragraphs with my feet. Also, I just discovered that people over the age of 14 in this country still play soccer and that Los Angeles has a soccer team (Two, actually).
LA should get a jai alai team, rugby, polo, cricket, swimming . . . I would root for a Shetland pony as long it had a better than 95 percent chance of winning a championship (It’s good for my self-esteem to be associated with other winners).
So go, Kings! Bring the Stanley Cup home where it belongs. (Though technically my “home” isn’t anywhere near Los Angeles. It’s three counties away in Corona.) But the more, the merrier. And I’m perfectly willing to root for any mammal within a three-day driving distance.
And, frankly, I don’t see how any of this should disqualify me, you or anyone else from taking credit for all of this wonderful frozen excitement:
Not rooting for the Kings during its franchise’s entire existence, not caring one second about the entire sport, hell, not even knowing until five days ago that this was, in fact, still hockey season, or that the recession hadn’t killed off hockey like Circuit City or CompUSA . . . It should in no way preclude all of us from rooting for the Kings, buying a championship hat or attending the Kings victory parade.
They hold victory parades in hockey, don’t they?
Wait! Don’t answer.
The less I learn about anything hockey-related, the more “magical” all of this will remain.
It’s just like the Galaxy’s dream season all over again.
Contact Jeff Girod at firstname.lastname@example.org.