Thursday, May 26, 2011

:: This is really happening ::

I know it's been quite some time since I posted here – I'd apologize for that, but I'm not sorry – and a lot has gone on in the interim. For one, I did in fact turn 30 years old, while in Vegas with my friends; Macho Man Randy Savage died; my dog spent the better part of two days throwing up, thus costing me a $515 vet bill; and most importantly – and these two things are likely related – the Canucks advanced to the Stanley Cup finals and the world, despite claims to the contrary, did not end last Saturday.

To be honest, the lack of Rapture came as a surprise to me, if only because, as I mentioned, the Vancouver Canucks are in the fucking Stanley Cup finals. If ever there was a reason to think all humanity was about to cave in upon itself, this may have been it.

At least that's how most fans here saw it, as we've grown oh-so-accustomed to failure, to bad things happening at the last minute; to shots ringing off goal posts and riots breaking out in the streets.

Yes Vancouver, it seems failure is what we do, what we've always done.

And while I'm loath to go all deep on y'all and suggest this somehow mirrors my life as I enter my 30s and leave my 20s behind – after all, I had a pretty good 10 year run there – there are a few similarities. Without getting into specifics, I had a few speed bumps in my early/mid 20s, a few spectacular failures – shit, I ended up in Northern Alberta for Christ's sake, pulling in a whopping $26,000 a year.

I look back eight or so years, and shake my head. Sure, we had a helluva time – a helluva time – but some of the things that went on, my god... well, nevermind. Said I wouldn't get into specifics, and I meant it. Doesn't matter though – most of you were there. You know.

But here's the thing – it got better. It is better. It's fucking fantastic, as a matter of fact.

I'm not the same stupid idiot I was when I was 22, nobody is. (Even Kyle said to me the other day, "Everybody changes. Look at me – if I didn't change, I'd probably have AIDS right now and be dead." I did not dispute his claim.)

So yes, things get better. And – now we'll just seamlessly move back into the sports realm here, if you don't mind – things seem to be getting better here, too. Vancouver pulled off one hell of an Olympic party last year; many said it was the greatest Olympics in the event's long history, and they're probably right.

The party went off without a major hitch, perhaps signaling for once and for all that we can have something good without blowing it. Everyone seemed to get along. Everyone was (mostly) positive. There were no riots.

And now, here we are, 15 months removed from that success, and 17 years after the last "success" of our beloved Canucks, though success of course is a relative term – the team did lose, after all.

But this time, maybe it really is different. Maybe, just maybe, it really is better. After all, the team itself is remarkably better than either the scrappy '82 squad or the team that, led by Trevor Linden, came one goal away from winning it all in 1994.

This year's team is expected to win.

And the difference between this team and other Canucks teams with similar expectations – those rosters of the early 2000s, for example – is that this time they're actually doing it. They're actually winning. Not the whole thing yet, of course, but still... those great teams of the 2000s were golfing by now.

I get the feeling that a lot of people don't know how to deal with such a phenomenon. I know I don't. I mean, we simply aren't used to this. There must have been some kind of mistake, right? Some kind of clerical error? We're in the what finals?

Since the Canucks punched their ticket to the big dance earlier this week, I've swapped many a text message with my brother, and most end – or start – like this.

"This is really happening."

Sometimes we'll talk about what we'll do if they actually win – what we'll say, where we'll be, or how much we'll drink.

But regardless of those finer details, Chris predicted there will be "mayhem." I agreed with him. There will be – not a replay of the Stanley Cup riots mind you, but a better kind. A happier kind.

Because this isn't 1994 anymore.

It's better.