It's 92 degrees. Do you know where your Stanley Cup is?
This week, Calgary Flames fans and sane people everywhere were shocked to see the Tampa Bay Lightning overcome a 3-2 deficit in the Stanley Cup Finals and take the last two games and win the championship. Which is great, because Spring Break needed another punch bowl.
The high in Tampa this week is 92 degrees. Ice melts at 32. There's something wrong here. Finding out that Tampa Bay is the best hockey team is like Sweeden winning all the medals at the Summer Olympics.
"Coming in first in the 100-meter dash, it's Bjorn!"
The lowest it has ever gotten in Tampa, in the history of Tampa, is 18 degrees. That was 1962. In Calgary, the average temperature for two whole months a year is lower than that. But is that reason enough to root against a hockey team? Sure!
When this season started, the Flames had been in Calgary for 23 years, during which they made the playoffs 15 times. That's not so impressive, considering everyone in hockey who doesn't totally suck makes the playoffs (read, everyone but the Rangers). The Flames were a big underdog. Seven of the eight times they've missed the post season were in the last seven years. Since they won the Cup in 1989, the Flames have exited before round two of the playoffs every season.
The Lightning were also an underdog. Though they made round two of the playoffs last season, it was only the second time they've ever seen May. They are 12 years younger than the Flames, but they've managed to suck just as much in recent years.
So the deciding factor was whether or not Florida deserves a Stanley Cup. They just missed one in 1996 when the Florida Panthers lost in the finals. If you're a hockey fan, you know that the Panthers play in Florida, which is a city in Florida. (Okay, so they're from Miami. But even they recognize how ridiculous it would be to name a hockey team the Miami anything).
Is it wrong of me to dislike hockey teams from Florida, just because they're from Florida? No, because everyone dislikes them. This year, there were four teams that averaged a road crowd below 16,000. Two of them were from Florida.
You may be saying that if the state can support two teams, I should be all for it. Except the state can't. In an effort to boost sales, the Lightning recently unveiled a plan to give free beer to season ticket holders. What a great message: "our product is so great, you have to be wasted to fully enjoy it."
Though that makes sense because you have to be drunk to enjoy Tampa. I've been to almost every major city in the United States, and was surprised that Dante never write about this particular ring of hell. Ironic that a city built in the path of hurricanes would be built so unstable that it could be wiped out with a small gust of wind. Though that's partly because so many houses have wheels.
People from Tampa told me that I didn't enjoy myself because I didn't go to the right bars. Like I said, it's a great city if you're wasted. I don't want to offend any Tampa residents with this rant, but you're probably drunk anyway.
While Americans should want to get even for the Blue Jays winning the World Series twice, I feel bad for Canada. We've already taken so much from them. We've taken Michael J. Fox and Kids in the Hall and the idea of a beer-pez dispenser. Which will probably be given out at the next Lightning game. It's got to be even more insulting that a city whose low temperature is higher than Calgary's high could be better at ice skating.
So toast to your Stanley Cup, Tampa Bay, while you still have it. Pour a few cold ones in there and drink to victory and success and a job well done. Drink to winning the most coveted cup in ice hockey, in a city that hasn't had ice since 1962.
Congratulations, Tampa Bay. Hell has officially frozen over.
Steve Hofstetter is the author of Student Body Shots, which is available at www.SteveHofstetter.com. He can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.