Welcome home, Stanley

There are a few things on this planet that can simultaneously bring people together or divide them completely. Religion, politics, and sports. And today, I’m thinking about the sports part. Last night, here in Chicago, our hometown hockey team, the Blackhawks, brought home the big trophy, the Stanley Cup, for the second time in 5 years, and as a group, we couldn’t be happier. In fact, this particular team brings together democrats and republicans, Catholics and Protestants, men and women, and any other dichotomy you can think of. One hockey team helps us transcend all other barriers. Last night when the players raised the cup up and celebrated, we all joined in without a thought for diversity. Last night, we were all just winners.

Another thing I noticed last night were the rituals and the apparel worn both by the players and the fans. For Blackhawks fans, growing a beard (if you’re of the male persuasion) is a must to make sure that playoff season goes your way, and for everyone, their lucky apparel, anything from jerseys to hats to team pins, are worn religiously on game days. Even players participated, refusing to walk over the hawks logo on the floor of the locker room, growing the aforementioned beard, and wearing all number of carefully chosen pieces of clothing.

I’m not sure how much stock to put into any of these rituals, and going so far as to quit shaving for weeks at a time seems a bit extreme, but I’m not above the jerseys or the team pins. Truthfully though, any team that wins out over everyone else in the league has more than luck on their side: they have heart, determination, teamwork and skill. So congratulations to the Blackhawks on another season to remember, and good luck to all the upcoming sports in the summer and fall: win or lose, it’s definitely how you play the game.

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