Monday, May 4, 2009

Revenge or Beat By The Best?

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.

1 comment:

  1. As a Yanks fan, I used to go with a similar philosophy if the Yanks lost. Depending on how much I hated the team, I usually wanted to see them win the series, just so I could say the Yankees either won the world series, or lost to the team that did, which was the case every year from 1996-2004 (except 1997).

    In this case though, I hate crosby, and I hate the penguins. I don't have any real animosity towards the Caps. I don't feel they got the series handed to them against the rangers (as the penguins did the year prior)and outside of Brashear, I didn't find anyone to be particularly unlikeable or dirty on that team. They were just better than us this time around.

    I'd like to see the Caps win the east. I hate the penguins, and I hate the city of boston, and the bruins. Caps win the east, I will be "ok" with it, and I will hope detroit wins it all. That is the best of all worlds for me. Because let's be honest, a) who cares what other people think? Just because someone else suddenly thinks the rangers were better or worse than they really were, based on how the playoffs turned out, doesn't change the fact that the rangers didn't make it out of the first round. b) No one is actually going to sit there and say, "Wow, the rangers were actually probably the second best team in hockey. Yeah they were the worst scoring team of the 16 playoff teams, and yeah they had the worst power play, and yeah they finished the season 3 games over .500 so basically they were a .500 team, but they took an inexperienced caps team to 7 games (7 games where they got badly outplayed in 6 of them), so they were probably the second best team.

    I don't see that happening, especially of the people doing that thinking are fans of other teams like the penguins, or bruins, or ducks, teams that all advanced to the second round.