This is my fourth season as an LA Kings fan, and my fourth season as a hockey fan in general. The first three seasons, the Kings ended up in the bottom of the league. Occasionally, even dead last.
Honestly? This was the perfect way to begin a new fandom. My expectations have been low for every game. I expect the team to be sloppy, to make mistakes, to take bad penalties, and to blow leads. The occasional win has been cause for great celebration. I remember being jazzed every time they lost, but not in a shut out. When your team sucks, you find your happiness in other ways.
(Cute hockey players help. Although I’ll always be a die-hard fan of introverted cutie Alexander Frolov, the scrappy and talented Wayne Simmonds has easily vaulted into second on my favorite Kings list. I hope they’re both Kings for many, many years to come.)
But this year… whoa. Everything changed. Our star player, Anze Kopitar, started the season by leading the entire league in scoring. (Yes, he scored more than Ovechkin!) Our players did awesome at the Olympics. And get this: the Kings won more games than they lost. Mind-blowing!
For the first time since I’ve been a hockey fan (and since this is my first sports fandom, the first time ever), “my team” is headed to the post-season. Playoffs, baby!
So…any advice for handling the inevitable playoff disappointment? And how will I ever survive sports fandom now that I actually expect my team to do well???