I was born 858 days after the Rangers won their most recent Stanley Cup championship, so I did not have to live through the agony of the Curse of 1940, but I also have yet to experience the effervescence of witnessing my hockey team hoist the most coveted piece of hardware in sports.
Often with teams we admire and follow, love-hate relationships are developed. Some fans who have waited decades to finally see their team’s efforts come to complete fruition in June nearly despise their teams after seeing one forlorn loss after another.
Except, it’s not the team itself that can drive people to lunacy. It’s the agony of waiting and the desire to finally see the culmination of all the trades, signings, firings, and debates on WFAN.
As a Blueshirt fan, I take great pride in the history of my team. An Original Six team with 92 years of history, with all-time greats ranging from Mark Messier and Brian Leetch to Eddie Giacomin and Jean Ratelle, the New York Rangers are one of the most storied teams in the sport, and also the most valuable, based on the most recent valuations.
I compare being a sports fan to dating. Most people have all been rejected by potential dates at one point or another, and that is tantamount to being a fan of a team that has won just one championship since World War II. Sure, women will reject me, but does that stop me from trying to find one to be my significant other? Of course not.
The same can be said for the Rangers. Every season they have had in my lifetime has always ended in disappointment, but that will never stop me from cherishing and loving this team.
It’s also a metaphor for life in general. Bad things often happen to people, and parts of life can be quite somber and gloomy, and being a fan of this team often evokes those emotions.
With that entire spiel, one might wonder about or scrutinize my fandom, and perhaps rightfully so. But my admiration of this team remains more resolute than ever, because of hope.
The hope that the New York Rangers will, at some point, have a parade at the Canyon of Heroes during my lifetime is all that I need to keep going as a fan. The knowledge that they have another chance every single year prevents that hope from ever fluctuating.
Certainly, specific days as a fan of this team are more difficult than others, but my love for this team also gives me character. It’s very easy to be a Penguins fan or a Blackhawks fan; that’s no challenge.
One day, I know I’ll witness a Rangers championship in my lifetime, maybe even sooner than I think.