Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


When it feels like destiny, it only hurts more to come up short

It wasn’t supposed to end like that.

The team never lost consecutive games. Blake Geoffrion became the first Hobey Baker winner in UW history. They won a high-profile outdoor hockey game, just like in 2006, and were co-captained by a guy who was on that ’06 title team. It was fate and destiny; it was meant to be.

Except it wasn’t.


I didn’t want to admit it, but when the Badgers were trailing 1-0 after two periods, I knew what it meant. UW was winless (0-9-2) when behind going into the third.

And it stayed that way.

BC got to rush the ice. The Badgers got to somberly skate off into the tunnel. I got to sit there and stare for a while before closing my laptop and heading to the media room. On my way in, I saw a fellow Wisconsin media member.

“Shit happens,” he said.

Yeah, it does.

I haven’t seen three guys look as hollow and empty as Blake Geoffrion, Ben Street and Ryan McDonagh did at that postgame press conference. It was like their dogs died, Christmas was cancelled and another Nicholas Sparks book was adapted into a movie, all rolled into one.

Clearly I’m not completely over it; it’s been days and here I am still lamenting that Saturday night fiasco. The general scent of sadness that permeates Detroit didn’t help either, I suppose. I’m still so distraught that I even subjected myself to a KFC Double Down yesterday just to try and cope (and in case you’re wondering, it’s the most wonderful-terrible idea ever — you can literally feel yourself getting delicious, delicious heart disease).

If you can’t tell, behind my unbiased reporter face, I had a lot invested in this team. The fan part — what’s better than seeing a national title won by your school while you’re a student? — was a small factor; but really it was just going to be cool to cover a championship team. As a sports writer, those opportunities don’t come around too often; can you imagine being a beat writer for the Cleveland Browns? Or the Minnesota Timberwolves?

Or, heaven forbid, the UW softball team?

As fellow men’s hockey writer Max Henson and I discussed, we felt almost like part of the team. That’s not to say all of them remembered our names or anything, but when you spend all that time at practice and at games, you feel like you’re at least along for the ride.

Unfortunately, that last bit isn’t literal; I was on my own as far as traveling for away games. I drove nine hours — hungover the whole way — for the North Dakota series; I managed to avoid getting caught averaging over 80 MPH on the way up to Duluth; I even convinced myself it was worth it to visit St. Cloud to cover the games. Lots of money was spent on gasoline and caffeine in the name of reporting on the team.

Maybe that was the flaw though; knowing too much about the team, investing so much into it.

A scenario where the Badgers weren’t national champs did not exist in my head as I was driving to Detroit. I knew their strengths and weaknesses, knew how good, how tough, how experienced they were. I could tell who was who just by the way a guy skated. Wisconsin was too good; there was just too much going the Badgers’ way for them to lose.

But teams of destiny don’t really exist, do they?

The 2007 New England Patriots found that out. They put up the most points in NFL history and went 16-0 in the regular season en route to stomping their way to the Super Bowl. Tom Brady had never used the words “Super Bowl” and “lose” in the same sentence before.

Storybook ending, meet the New York Giants’ pass rush.

In 2001 the Seattle Mariners won 116 games, tying the Major League record for wins in a season. They had a losing streak of more than two games just once. The Mariners scored the most runs while allowing the fewest and generally looked unstoppable.

You know, until they played the Yankees in the ALCS.

Three years earlier, the 1998 NFL season involved the Minnesota Vikings going 15-1 and setting the scoring record, one the Patriots would later break. Members of the opposing team’s secondary generally gave up when faced with Cris Carter, Jake Reed and Randy Moss. Gary Anderson made every kick he attempted that season, except for one; by the end of it, when the Vikings set up for a field goal, the refs were ready to just give them the three points, and a fourth for good measure.

Of course, Anderson’s one miss was the one in the NFC title game that kept Minnesota from a Super Bowl berth.

The point here is the more it looks like it has to happen, the less likely it will. There really is no such thing as a team of destiny.

Also, Santa doesn’t exist, you’ll never find true love and sorry Cubs fans, it will never be over. Hey, I didn’t make the rules, I just follow them.

The more you invest in a team, the more you know. The more you know, the more you see patterns and reasons to believe something special could happen. And then you trick yourself into believing it’s all going to work out perfectly. Then it doesn’t.

But you know what?

It’s still worth it.

Adam is a junior majoring in mourning. If you didn’t understand his column name this week, you need to watch Wedding Crashers again. Got any good UW hockey memories from this season? Email him at [email protected].

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