I got on the elevator in my apartment building this morning - and a fellow Ranger fan was already in there. He’s a teenager and a die hard Ranger fan. We talked a little about the NHL playoffs, (tiptoeing around the Ranger’s CRUSHING LOSS) and focusing instead on Sunday's games (Ducks in triple OT).
Then I asked him the essential question: How you gonna root now?
Because after a team puts your team out of the playoffs - like that Washington Capitals team did - there are two diametrically opposed philosophies of rooting.
1 - The first is Revenge Mode. If we couldn't vanquish our enemy - we can't wait to see someone else do it. So we root for Sidney Crosby and the Penguins to finish the job we could not - to make the Caps feel what we felt - the bitterness of defeat.
My friend in the elevator was leaning towards Revenge Mode. But I have a different theory on this. The second way of rooting:
2 - I call it Beat By The Best mode. I think this is the more reasoned and intelligent approach. It gets past the petty “eye for an eye” mentality and takes a broader more philosophical view.
The idea here is that, if the team that beats you goes on to win the cup - it elevates your own team’s season - because you lost to the best team in hockey. In this case we would root for the Caps to beat everyone - because it makes the Rangers look better.
So I said to my fellow Ranger fan as we exited the elevator:
"If the Caps win the cup and no one else takes them to 7 games - that makes us the 2nd best team in hockey. People will see what we were up against and realize we almost beat them."
He thought about it a second – the inherent logic of the Beat By The Best mode registering in his head for the first time. "I think you're right" he said.
So I have at least one potential convert. But my 10 year old son, "Little Pucks", has a slightly different view:
"The Caps are poop-heads," he explained (cleaning up his language because his Mom was in the room), “I hate those guys."
So I'm not making much progress with him. Still - I'm comfortable in my logical, intelligent choice to root for the Capitals. Besides all the reasons I said earlier, to root for the Caps is to root against the Penguins. After all, the Penguins, and that crybaby cheater Crosby put us out of the playoffs last year.
To tell the truth, when it comes to the Penguins, I hate those guys.
Which means I have to re-think my entire philosophy. But I'm still rooting for the Caps.
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