Nashville Predators vs Tampa Bay Lightning

by Zachary Harmuth

Has it really been three weeks since the Predators played? Seems like longer than that. Hard to tell if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

Being a fan of a team like the 25-24-10 Predators, and watching them play can be like living forever in the mind of someone who just quit smoking- all the time stressed out, irritated and (irrationally) craving slushies and chocolate and a better goalie (or get Pekka Rinne back- he is practicing more and more!)

But the total opposite can be true as a fan of sports and hockey in general: not having the Predators to watch lately like can be, too, like quitting smoking cigarettes. You love hockey, and (though you know it might not be good for you) love the Preds.

Maybe the truly secret pleasure in loving sports and irrationally rooting for your town’s team is that it allows one to be masochistic. You accept and love the team, and hence the city and hence your self, ┬ánot just for when it is good but as a whole. The good, bad and ugly. Loving your team is a way of forgiving one’s self, a hail-mary of sorts, for one’s sins and imperfections.

And, as the Preds return from sabbatical Thursday, they hang just on the edge of contention and redemption- just 4 points! (only four!) from a wild card spot!- and we hold (maybe irrational) hope out for their season. Just as we hold out hope for our very selves.

To turn away would be to turn away from ourselves! Especially with four home games in a row coming up!

So, said all that, are you sure you want to fire up the DVR for Thursday night’s 7 p.m. game against Tampa Bay? And for Winnipeg on Saturday afternoon? Pittsburgh next Tuesday night?

Of course, right?

Come to think of it, even if I wanted to turn away for good and gave it a try, I wonder if I’d realize how horribly hooked I really am. Maybe the Olympics were more of a Nicotine Patch than I thought.

I suppose all I know, when the puck drops, is go Preds!

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