The Vancouver Canucks have brought their fans to the brink of cardiac arrest, going to game seven of the 2011 Stanley Cup final just to squeeze every ounce of hope and anxiety out of them. But, hey, if they win, the ride will have been well worth it!
I’m a Montreal Canadiens fan but the Canucks are my second team and I’m rooting for them, not only on a personal level, but for my friends and family, who have bled green and blue for so long. So, as a public service, as someone whose team has been through many Stanley Cup finals, I thought I’d give the inexperienced Canucks fans some etiquette pointers for celebrating the victory or mourning the loss.
IF THEY WIN . . . and it’s in regulation time, as the final seconds tick off, turn to a friend and smile as if you’re pilots who have just miraculously landed a disabled commercial jet, and hoist a beer. A high five or fist pump is okay but no hugging – that’s for the actual champions.
IF THEY LOSE . . . and it’s in regulation time, as the final seconds tick off, turn to a friend and smile weakly as if you’re pilots, who are the only two survivors of a crash landing; don’t hoist a beer, though, as that would be in bad taste.
IF THEY WIN . . . at the final buzzer, leap to your feet with both hands in the air and scream something like “Yeah!” or “Yeah, baby!” or “Effin Rights!” but, please, whatever you do, resist the temptation to proclaim “we did it!” That’s a Leafs fan thing, to say “we” and weep as if you actually played the game. Of course, the Leafs haven’t won a Cup in a very long time so it’s usually used like “we shouldn’t have traded Kaberle.”
IF THEY LOSE . . . It’s okay to be angry or pout but don’t blame the referees or a curse. Even if the league was telling the refs to lean Boston’s way, that has nothing to do with larger factors, such as Tim Thomas’ brilliant play, Luongo’s Jekyll and Hyde act, the Sedins’ and Kesler’s absence, or the Canucks missing numerous great chances.
IF THEY WIN . . . in overtime, leap out of your chair (don’t worry about any kind of spillage) and scream the same stuff you would have had it been in regulation and hug the nearest person whilst jumping up and down. High five as many people as you can. Kiss your partner. Take the opportunity to hug and greedily grope a hot waitress or two. Take your shirt off and do the white towel thing. Do the swim on the table. Do whatever you want because this, baby, is the ultimate get-out-of-jail-free card!
IF THEY LOSE . . . in overtime, it will be devastating, no doubt about it. You’ll feel as if you’ve been punched in the gut and lost your job and partner at the same moment. You won’t know whether you want to punch something or curl into a ball and weep. This will be a great test of your character. Remember, no excuses. No going back and agonizing over what-ifs. And, after you have calmed down, remember these words: Don’t cry because it’s over – smile because it happened.
IF THEY WIN . . . don’t be arrogant and obnoxious. Don’t pretend that you totally knew they would win and lord it over fans of other teams. That’s why there are “haters”: people who cheer against the Canucks not because of the team, but because of cocky, taunting fans. After all, you’re not Bruins fans.
Finally, savour this night.
It’s not often we get to see the Canucks, who are B.C.’s team, get this far. It has been absolutely thrilling to, yes, watch the games, but mostly to see the excitement it has generated around town; the flags, the jerseys, the filled bars, the downtown celebrations.
Oh yeah, about that: the car parades, after each victory, are bad form – although I understand, considering that this could be the first, after 40 years. Celebrating is fine but parades should be saved for the big one, the ultimate prize, the championship.
And, today, my friends, is a great day for a parade.
~Written by Rudy Kelly