In my personal (and VERY biased) opinion, I don’t think you’ll find a bigger sports town than Chicago. Sure, L.A. has the Lakers, NYC has the Yankees, Detroit has the Red Wings and Green Bay has that one football team. All of them are home to dominating teams who have had their fair share of success. But those towns just don’t seem to have the same passion for ALL of their teams as Chicago does. However, I will admit that I have a ton of respect for Boston who I think would be the runner-up for “best sports city” given their loyalty to the Patriots, Celtics, Red Sox and Bruins. But again (totally biased) there are few cities whose fans live and die by the fates of their favorite teams like this one. From the lows of enduring over a century without a Championship like my beloved Chicago Cubs, to the extreme highs of winning 2 Championships in 4 seasons like the Blackhawks, Chicago LOVES their sports teams. So unlike the Bostons of the world who seem to win some kind of MLB, NHL, NFL or NBA championship every other year, we have to celebrate these big wins like it’s the last time it will ever happen….because it very well could be. At least in my lifetime.
With that in mind, I find it hard to believe that just one month ago, I was sitting in a Wrigleyville bar watching the Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Finals which pitted the Chicago Blackhawks who were one win away from clinching the Cup against the Boston Bruins. It was late in the game and every Hawks fan was anxiously hoping that there wouldn’t be a need to play Game 7… but sadly, in the back of my mind I was certain there would be. But with only 1:56 left in regulation, Bryan Bickell gave Chicagoans the most exciting, yet nerve-racking, 2 minutes in the history of hockey and probably the world (at least in my warped mind) when he scored a game tying goal which was promptly followed by Dave Bolland’s game winning goal 17 seconds later only to end the night by hoisting of the most coveted trophy in all of sports- The Stanley Cup.
Days later, somewhere around 2 million fans gathered in the heart of the city to celebrate the 6 game triumph over the Bruins by watching the victory parade and rally for the 2013 Stanley Cup Champions and attempt to get an up close glimpse of Lord Stanley’s Cup. The parade started at the United Center where players, families and past legends boarded trolleys and double-decker busses and made their way down Washington St as they headed to Hutchinson Field for the rally.
Now that I have had a full month to recover from the stress, anxiety, depression, excitement and excessive happiness of the playoffs as well as the euphoria, exhaustion and intoxication related to the celebrations that followed, here are some of my favorite shots that I got of the parade and rally from that wonderful day.
In just a few days, we’ll get a small dose of the long-missed hockey season (yes, it only ended 4 weeks ago, although that seems like forever) as we head to the 6th annual Blackhawks Convention at the Hilton downtown. We’ll see them hoist Lord Stanley at the Opening Ceremonies and have a chance to get up close to meet our favorite Blackhawks. If my heart is strong enough to handle the excitement of the next few days, hopefully I’ll be able to post some photos of the convention!