Before Game 7, I posted this pitch in the Knights On Ice Slack channel:
Well, Game 7 happened, and it didn’t happen the way anyone could have predicted. When the Golden Knights were up 3-0, I FaceTimed my parents. We were making plans for the games that would be in Las Vegas over the weekend. My mom said that Dad and I were cursing the game. Maybe we did. I hope we didn’t.
I think I expected this article to be satirical. Funny, even! But it’s hard to be funny in this moment. There’s nothing funny about that ending. It could be funny in a few years, but not now.
Now is the time to be sad, angry, annoyed. You can be all of those. You can even take that bath.
I get it — your stomach feels like a pit that doesn’t end. Your heart is still slowing down after it was just racing, waiting for the high you’d feel when you won, but the high you expected never came, so now you’re just stuck with this heart that’s fluttering and making you anxious for absolutely nothing. There’s no way around it. It sucks.
Still, there are ways to cope with this feeling. As a longtime Cincinnati sports fan (I know, yikes), I can tell you that there are healthy ways to deal with this. These coping methods may not work for everybody, but they’ve worked for me in the past. So, here it goes.
Talk to people that don’t care about hockey
The last thing you need right now is another sad Golden Knights fan joining you at happy hour or coming over to say hello as you pick up your kids from school to say, “Man, last night was terrible, huh?” Yes, it totally was. What’s left to say? Should you go on a rant about the refs? Talk about how Shark fans suck (more on that later)? Sometimes it’s useful, but other times, it’s just an exercise in sorrow.
So, you’re probably wondering who you should talk to instead. Why don’t you call your grandparents and ask how they’re doing? Or invite an old friend out that you haven’t seen in a while? Or binge watch some TV with your pets? Hell, get on a dating app and just start talking.
There’s a secret effectiveness to this. You will inevitably bring up the loss. You should not try to stop that. If your grandparents, friend, pets, or date care about you, they will listen to you. And here’s the beauty of it all: they will likely respond with nothing more than, “Aw, that’s a shame.” And then they’ll just start talking about something else.
You’ll want to dwell. But with the encouragement of a person that doesn’t care about hockey, you can move on to the next topic as easily as they do.
Work it out
I highly recommend this method for anyone who is on the angry side of the despair spectrum. Are you so mad that you want to throw punches like Ryan Reaves? Well, you totally can, as long as you’re throwing those punches at the gym (especially to work off those muffins).
Exercise is known to help people cope with anxiety, depression, grief, and more. Exercise releases endorphins into the body, which helps relief stress and pain.
Are you super amped up and want to take it out on the refs over Twitter (more on that later)? Something cardio-based would really benefit you. Are you just bummed and need to get the game off your mind? Try some yoga or go for a walk on your street. Moving is essential, and eventually you’ll feel okay and have a new hobby!
Log off Twitter, for God’s sake
Twitter is a disgusting cesspool of bad feelings that I can’t live without. I love tweeting about my cats and looking at the latest SpongeBob memes. I also love following Golden Knights journalists and publications, so looking at Twitter right now feels insane.
Seeing all of this in a row, knowing it will be dominating my timeline for the next few hours and maybe even days, does not feel good. The tweets are constant. And they aren’t going to stop for a while.
The best thing you can do is just log out. Again, go walk outside. Talk to your friends. Think about something other than hockey. Hell, even if you can’t log out completely, just mute some of the keywords or accounts that you know will bother you for the next few days.
Don’t take this out on the wrong people
This goes without saying, but then again, maybe it doesn’t:
Referees are not bad people. Sharks fans are not bad people. They are people who love hockey like you and I do.
These people do not deserve your projected feelings. They do not deserve any hatred, harassment, or threats.
Remember why you watched in the first place
Hockey is an emotional sport. Hell, just look at how many skirmishes there were during this series. It’s important to remember that there is a reason you are feeling low after this loss. It’s because you love Vegas. It’s because this meant something to you.
There were games before Game 7. You probably watched a lot of them. I lost track of how many times I stayed up for a 10 pm ET puck drop this season. I know others probably did a lot more just for a glimpse of a game. We got to watch so much good hockey this season together. Better yet, we got to watch a two-year-old team fresh off a Stanley Cup run go at it again.
This season was tough, and the ending was the toughest part, but gosh, it was electric. Remember how we felt when we found out Paul Stastny and Max Pacioretty were joining the team? Remember when Brandon Pirri was our best player? Remember when Ryan Reaves was our best player? Remember the excitement that surrounded Mark Stone when he finally signed on?
I remember all of that. Mostly, though, I remember when Jonathan Marchessault scored on the penalty shot in overtime against the Senators. And I remember the way Erik Haula tackled Marchessault to the ground, hugging his teammate the whole way down.
The Golden Knights are such a special team. They are young, but they are already historic. They have done so much good in their short time, both on and off the ice. It’s easy to lose sight of that sometimes when it feels like you lost your chance at greatness.
But we have to remember, they were already legendary.