It was only one week ago that the Hershey Bears won the Calder Cup in a 4-0 rout. It was their second championship in as many years, their third in five years, and the eleventh in franchise history. Andrew Gordon writes to share his thoughts on the championship, the celebration, and what happens now.
Life has a million ways to make you feel good, and a million ways to make you feel miserable. In my 24 years, I have found only one way to feel like a champion (make that two ways now). It’s a feeling that all players at all levels try to put into words but can’t ever find the exact way to express it.
It’s a combination of happiness, excitement, relief, satisfaction, fulfillment and complete bliss all mixed together and topped with a touch of “thank God it’s over.”
A championship win is so much different than a regular-season win because there is nothing left to accomplish after it’s over. There is no refocusing for your next opponent. No pasta meal waiting for you before tomorrow’s game. No more playing through injury or sickness. It’s all over, and you have nothing else to think about. It’s as if half of your brain suddenly has nothing to do, so it just shuts down and lets the 8-year-old in you run wild.
In the championship moment, nothing matters except the guys around you. I know there was some intense crowd noise as the buzzer sounded in Hershey, especially compared winning on the road in Manitoba, but I don’t remember hearing a sound. It is like I blocked out everything else in the building except the pile of players huddled around the crease. As you fly over the bench, all you want is to be there with the boys, celebrating what you have just accomplished.
When my career is over, I might not remember the score of the game, but I’ll always remember the feeling of jumping that bench (and falling on my face, if you watch the tape) and sprinting towards the rest of the guys.