Many people across the land have questioned the worth of the 82 game “regular season” across the NHL ice & NBA hardwood. Seasons that included injuries, meaningless games, over-hyped mid-season classics whether on Christmas day or on baseball fields, the occasional “did you see what happened last night?!”, & mostly a standings-watching “lets get to the playoffs” fan base.
Lately I have heard the debate about how the English Premiere League & many European soccer leagues have no playoffs; their champions are crowned through the vigorous regular season schedules & an “every game matters mentality”. Yeah, I guess that is pretty cool, but some teams are loaded with talent & payrolls, some are not, some teams may not play identical schedules, some may not. But imagine if we didn’t watch the 82 game struggle & jockeying for seeding in the NHL & NBA. Imagine if we didn’t have the 7-game series in which rivals are born, hatred is bred, & that constant “bring it” attitude is brought to the venue each night.
We rarely see the value of what the regular season has brought us, we wish for the playoffs, we yearn for them. In the NHL, the regular season has proved to us that the Red Wings are a relentless organization. Save them a seat at the table every year, 23 straight years of making the playoffs. Big injuries survived by guys getting their chance to make their mark on the organization (I’m looking at you GUS!). The NBA has seen old dogs playing old tricks (San Antonio), young bucks turning cities inside out with excitement (Toronto, Washington, Charlotte), & that Heat team “going through the motions”. We’ve witnessed a collapse of EPIC proportions in Indiana.
The regular season may be long, it may get tiresome, but we can’t crown our champions during the regular season. We the people need this second season, we need the playoffs. This is a nation full of “2 out of 3”, “3 out of 5”, from playing horse at the park or “picking sticks” & moving nets for cars in the street, we need a series. This is the best time of the year, we have already crowned a champion in College Hoops with our brackets being busted & now we get a whole new set of brackets. Brackets that take time, brackets that can be upset, but 2 brackets, in 2 completely different sports, that will define “world champions” in 2 different sports. Enjoy this season people, for it only happens once a year…