Warning: I didn't expect this post to be so...melancholy at the beginning. I promise it gets happier as it progresses.
Last August I wrote about one of my favorite books from childhood, People by Peter Spier. The book beautifully sets forth why embracing diversity (of appearance, beliefs, practices, and personalities) is so vital to the human experience. The last page of the book says something like "the only thing that we all have in common is that, in the end, we all must die."
So usually when I hear people say "it's the journey, not the destination," I think of this page of People- this recognition of our final destination, so basic that it is set forth in a book for children. And I think about the fact that in the end, we all must die, and what really matters is what we do between now and then...the journey.
But sometimes, dear readers, it's not the journey- IT'S THE DESTINATION. Sometimes, it doesn't matter how you get there, you just need to get there.
Who would have thought that a few short weeks ago with the Kings hovering just outside the playoffs that we'd be sitting pretty (albeit possibly temporarily) atop the Pacific Division? Not me. I'll be the first to admit that I was not optimistic that we would reach this destination, which hopefully is merely a waypoint on the longer path to the STANLEY FUCKING CUP...or, at least an impressive non-first-round elimination.
When I finally get to don my "Stanley Cup Champions" jersey, t-shirt, and underpants (yes- if the Kings win, I will buy those stupid Kings underpants- but I'll wear them ironically), I won't be focused on the arduous, painful, sometimes embarrassing, occasionally infuriating journey that got us to that destination. I won't be thinking about the vision of Kopitar from last season that is permanently etched in my mind, rolling around on the ice in pain, clutching his ankle in agony and screaming his head off while I watched our playoff hopes for 2011 vanish while Kings fans everywhere sobbed "this should have been our year" into their jerseys. I won't care that some of our acquisitions were largely overpaid and useless (Penner) or quickly injured (Gagne, Carter). I won't worry about whether Mike Richards still has cobwebs in his brain, or whether Drew Doughty is worth the gagillion dollars that we're paying him to leave half the ice undefended in the d-zone. I won't be wincing over our turnovers (Doughty again), failed hip checks (dammit, Doughty) or our forwards who suffered lengthy and puzzlingly ineffective periods (Stoll, Richardson, Richards, Brown, Clifford...I could go on). I won't be focused on the fact that our offense was cryably, laughably, nauseatingly, pants-shittingly AWFUL for most of the season.
I also won't be thinking of the moments of brilliance- the saucer passes from Kopitar to Brown, the reliability of Quick in net (especially during shoot-outs), the way that Bernier stepped up for most of his games and looked damned good doing it, the way that we shut-out much better teams with scores of 3-0 and 5-0.
No. Instead every nerve ending in my eyes- in my entire body- will be focused on that Stanley Cup. Because nothing that happened before that moment- when Dustin Brown hoists that over his head- will matter. None of the infuriating parts of this season will matter.
It weighs 35 pounds, boys. Let's go and get it.