Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Game 7: The Thrill of Victory or the Agony of Defeat

As you all know, tonight the Flyers host the Sabres in game 7 of what has been one wild series already, and the other Rev (@Rev215) already told us why there's nothing better than a game seven.

Reading that fantastic post, it got me thinking about all the game sevens I've witnessed. Turns out, there haven't been that many in Philadelphia sports history. The Phillies have never even played in a single game 7 in their history, unsurprising considering they are the losingest franchise in North American sports history. The Flyers have played in 14 of them prior to tonight, winning 8 and losing 6. The Sixers have participated in 13 game 7s, winning 6 and losing 7.

Of those 27 game 7s in the history of Philadelphia's four major sports franchises that still call the City of Brotherly Love home, I've been alive for 12 of them, though I honestly don't remember the Flyers' seven-game series in 1987 (beat the Islanders, lost to the Oilers) 1988 (lost to the Capitals) and 1989 (beat the Penguins), when I was just 3, 4 and 5 years old, nor do I remember the Sixers' loss to the Bucks in 1986, when I was just 2 years old.

But I remember the rest like they were yesterday. I remember the Flyers building a 3-1 series lead against the hated Devils, remember being at the Meadowlands to see then rookie Brian Boucher's incredible save on Patrick Elias.

And I remember the Flyers blowing that 3-1 series lead. Remember Eric Lindros returning to the lineup and looking like he never lost a beat, beafore Scott Stevens ended that real quick with a vicious yet clean hit, taking Lindros out for good.

I remember thinking he was dead, and knowing the Flyers were dead. I remember how horrible that feeling that was, remember not knowing whether to cry or throw up or break something.

It was the epitome of the agony of defeat.

One year later, I remember the thrill of game 7 victory. How could any Sixers fan forget? Impossible, thanks to Allen Iverson's 44 points against the Bucks and 21-point, 16-assist performance against the Raptors.

I remember the valiant comeback with Iverson out of the lineup that came up just short but showed Milwaukee and the rest of the NBA that the Sixers were for real, remember the two 50-point explosions, remember Vince Carter's graduation-day controversy and subsequent last-second miss. And I remember the Sixers pulling off two game seven victories to get all the way to the NBA Finals.

Two years later, it was more joy, as the Flyers outlasted the Maple Leafs in one of the most vicious, brutal first-round series in memory only to follow that up with a heartbreaking game 7 loss to the Lightning in the Eastern Conference Finals a year later despite Keith Primeau's heroics.

I certainly remember Joffrey Lupul's overtime, series-winning goal in 2008.

And no one will ever forget last year's game 7 with Boston, capping off the most epic comeback in Philadelphia sports history.

Tonight, we will all be on pins and needles once again. That's just the way game sevens go. And when it's all said and done, we'll either be experiencing the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat. There is no middle ground. Tonight, it's win or go home. I'm not ready to be done caring about playoff hockey, not ready to "go home." Hopefully, neither are the Flyers.

We've all experienced the jubilation of a game 7 win and the heartbreak of a game 7 loss, and we're about to experience one of those things yet again tonight.


No comments:

Post a Comment