It's Thanksgiving in the United States today, and for many of us, that means spending time with family, watching football and copious amounts of drinking and eating. It's one of my favorite days of the year, really, because it's one of the few days where absolutely nobody expects anything productive from me. (Props to my mom for cooking a massive meal, though.)
Anyways, since this is a Blackhawks blog and it's the day to celebrate everything we're grateful for, I thought I would list some of the reasons I'm so happy to root for this team and be a part of this community. You're welcome to do the same in the comments, even if you're not American and think this whole holiday is dumb. I would disagree, because I really, really like stuffing my face with mashed potatoes.
Why I'm thankful to be a Blackhawks fan
(1) They're the only Chicago team that doesn't fill my soul with feelings of hopelessness and dread. The Bulls used to be that way, but Derrick Rose has slowly eroded my ability to be relentlessly optimistic about a team that also posts absurd profits without spending like a truly big market franchise. The Cubs and Bears, meanwhile ... well, you know. It makes it that much easier to love the Blackhawks when there's so much dysfunction and frustration elsewhere in Chicago sports.
(2) Toews, Kane. Kane, Toews. You know, those two. My life as a functional and coherent human being probably begin in about 1999, so I missed the prime of Michael Jordan. For me, the biggest star in Chicago growing up was Sammy Sosa, who hasn't exactly sustained a positive legacy in the aftermath of the steroid revelations. There was a time when I really loved Kirk Hinrich, just because there wasn't much else out there to get excited about. So when I think about young kids in Chicago now, who get to grow up with not one, but two transcendent hockey stars on the same team ... that's pretty incredible. I honestly don't think I've ever loved two athletes as much as Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews.
(3) Joel Quenneville's weird angry uncle vibe. People give Q a tough time around these parts occasionally, but he's still a brilliant coach and it warms my heart every time I see him getting angry on the bench. This guy bleeds Blackhawks hockey, has a strong rapport with the team's stars and owns arguably the best mustache in professional sports. Have some turkey today, coach.
(4) Toews faces. I really don't need to elaborate on this one. He's our delightful, unimaginably talented captain, and yet he often looks like a horrified child while playing on the ice. I love him so much.
(5) The 'Hawks fans. Oh boy, the 'Hawks fans. Nearly a couple years ago, after the team won its second Cup, one of my buddies walked around Wrigleyville with a massive replica of the Stanley Cup. We spent the day going from bar to bar, constantly getting stopped by fellow fans who wanted a picture with it. Hockey was over and the Cubs were in town, but it felt like everyone was still celebrating the 'Hawks. That's the kind of city that Chicago is becoming, and it's pretty much impossible to go out now without seeing at least one sweater on the street. The Blackhawks finally gave the city a team worth rooting for, and honestly I think they're probably a tad surprised at how people have embraced that.
(6) The readers. And then there's that special section of 'Hawks fans that spends its time on blogs and social media, making every day that I spend trying to earn a career in this industry worthwhile. I can't tell you guys enough how much it means to me when you make positive comments and support me and the other writers. Being a full-time blogger can be a lonely existence, but it's an awful lot easier when I know there are folks out there who appreciate what we're doing and our desire to bring you the best 'Hawks coverage possible. So again, thank you, because all this writing is just me talking to myself otherwise. Blogging might be crazy, but I'm not that crazy. I think.
I'm sure I could sit here and list another 50 reasons why I love this team, so I'm just gonna stop now since nobody wants to read 3,000 words between silly arguments with family members. I also want to see what you guys are thankful for in the comments (try to stick to hockey/sports/fandom, please), so feel free to share. I'm sure everyone has some great stories about why they love this team so much.