Amongst the hustle and bustle of the recent "you suck" debates, an idea for an unrelated Fan-Post was born from my innocent creation of the term "Preds-Life." For those of you who didn't see the brief conversation, I was explaining my consternation with the idea of changing the Predators post-goal celebration routine because of how solidly that routine is engrained in my life as a Predators fan. "I was just having a reflective moment on my Preds-life," I said. I came up with the term because I needed a descriptor for the connection that exists between my life and the Preds. The connection between you and your team is a concept that everyone understands, but no one has a word for. An actual language-based example of this is the Yiddish word "shlimazl" (link has NSFW language), or a constantly unlucky person - we don't have a specific English word for that, but we know what it encompasses (i.e., the past two weeks of my life (which have become comical - I'm serious): dumped, funeral, car wreck, found a tumor on my dog, illness, the part to repair my car still isn't available after two weeks, rental car problems, credit card limit problems, took the wrong bus twice yesterday, running low on money, forgot to turn in a paper, lost my house keys, aaaand HOPEFULLY. NOTHING. ELSE. You hear that, life?). I AM shlimazl. Thankfully, my Preds-Life has taught me esilience (full circle achieved: self-five!). Anyway, Cbrooksy, the author of the post to which I was originally replying, commented that the concept of one's "Preds-Life" would be a great idea for a Fan-Post. I think we all kind of know, deep down, what Preds-Life is. Like the idea of shlimazl, Preds-Life doesn't have to be spelled out to be understood. It's an integral part of who each one of us has become, and is so ensnared in who we are, that what to us is normal seems odd and foreign to outsiders. You know if you have it, and you know if you don't. We have it. We have Preds-Lives.
Also, if this picture of Smitty celebrating his OT goal against Anaheim doesn't give you goosebumps, send a shiver down your spine, get your heart-rate up, or make you feel like a 6 year old on Christmas, your Preds-Life might need CPR.
The single experience responsible for the creation of Preds-Life is, for me, the Predators goal celebration routine. Deep down, however, it's much more complex than that. I started playing hockey when I moved to Nashville at 7 years old, the Predators were founded when I was 8 years old, and I was 9 years old when they played their first official game. In a way, the Predators and I grew up together. We had our awkward stage (I was in middle school; the Preds couldn't make the playoffs), our growing-up stage (I was no longer awkward; the Preds finally made the playoffs), and our "butterfly" stage (you know, the year when you suddenly transform from a weird little caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly - from "unconfident you" to the "real you". I was a senior in high school; the Preds had acquired a certain Paul Kariya and set the tone for long-term success). Despite the many positive changes that the Predators and I have both gone through, there is a certain consistency of character and experience that always reminds us of who we are. For me, it's the bubbly and enthusiastic personality that will never change; it's the bedroom I grew up in; it's knowing that I come home and play hockey during the summer. For the Preds, it's the defining work ethic, determination, and esilient personality; it's the arena that will never change; it's the celebration that defines Predator hockey. This is not in any way my commentary or argument about the "you suck" discussion (read my short novel in the other post for that information), but is instead a description of what, to me, is part of what keeps the Predators alive at heart. It is part of their foundation... their identity... their team... Tim McGraw's I Like it, I Love It is the epicenter of the Predator celebration. I do indeed like it, of course I love it, and you're damn right I want some more of it. The other team does suck when they let in a goal, and I enjoy thanking them for doing so. A new celebration song wouldn't be the end of the world, but it would force me to redefine my concept of my Preds-Life for a new era. It would cause some disruption to the core of what I intrinsically consider The Predators.
I spent a lot of time on the bus thinking about this today, which is why it's so specific and in-depth. Most of the other things I consider part of my Pred-Life are not so complicated, however. They are things like Chris Mason scoring a goal, hearing the crowd scream "MA-SON" over and over and over in delirious response, seeing Mason pump his fists in the air to acknowledge our recognition, and watching the crowd grow even wilder. It's seeing Sully score a hattrick in his first home game as a Predator. It's also seeing Sully deke Sergei Zubov out of his jockstrap. It's remembering Paul Kariya's shootout goals - no dekes and twirls, just a simple, but deadly, wrist-shot. It was being able to go to one home playoff game against Anaheim last year and having tears of pride well up in my eyes from listening to 17,113 rabid fans joyfully screaming at the tops of their lungs as we won.
Those are the things that form the foundation of, and have built up our Preds-Lives.
Those are the things that define our personal relationships with the Predators.
Those are the things you should share in this post.
We all love the Predators, but why do we love them so much? It goes beyond winning - we all know that. Who are you because of the Predators? What is it about this team that has ensnared your heart and mind and soul? What is it about the Predators? What causes the passion?
WHAT IS YOUR PREDS-LIFE?