While the Los Angeles Kings skated around with Lord Stanley's Cup at the Staples Center on Monday night, something became abundantly clear. Although the movie Bridesmaids is funny, it's not a funny position for Arizona's professional sports teams to keep finding themselves in.
The Kings' win made the old cliche ‘always the bridesmaid and never the bride' the perfect slogan for Valley sports teams. For the 17th time since professional sports first called the state home in 1968, a local team lost in the playoffs to the eventual champions.
It's becoming an all too familiar occurrence in Arizona. A team has a good or great regular season and an impressive postseason run only to see all championship aspirations snuffed out like a Don Draper cigarette by a team that would eventually reach the pinnacle of their sport.
It's these moments that haunt the souls of the local
sports fans. The ghosts of a John Paxson three, a Santonio
Holmes one-footed -- and yes I still contest his second
food still hasn't touched the ground -- touchdown, a
bountied dirty hit on Kurt Warner,
a Robert Horry hip check (remember, that's basketball, not
hockey) and this year's penalty-riddled Western Conference
Final for the Coyotes, are forever trapped in fans' minds
like some sort of cruel instant replay.
As the great American philosopher Ferris Bueller would say, "how's that for being born under a bad sign?"
Now, I won't go as far as claiming there is some kind of curse on the city. I'll leave that for Chicagoans and Clevelanders to say about their city. Maybe Valley teams are unlucky or have never truly constructed rosters better than their opponents. Whatever the reasoning, something has to change, because our beloved franchises are becoming the sports version of Katherine Heigl's character in 27 Dresses.
While we've been to the holy altar of sports once with the 2001 Diamondbacks, the question is: will we get there again anytime soon? The Suns are in full rebuilding mode, the D- backs are an enigma right now (or at least their star player is, according to team owner Ken Kendrick) and the Cardinals can't even think about the playoffs until they decide if they're going with Kevin "Concussion Test" Kolb or John "Better Lucky Than Good" Skelton at starting quarterback. The Coyotes are probably the closest to the holy grail but they just got out of the first round for the first time in team history and could just as easily be signing their name to a lease in a new city -- if the cartoonishly evil Goldwater Institute gets its way -- than putting it on Lord Stanley's Cup.
The eternal bridesmaid is waiting for that ring, so are three out of four major sports teams in town. The question is, just how long will they continue to be part of someone else's road to happiness rather than embarking on their own? Unfortunately for fans, if the last 45 years have been any indication, it'll probably be awhile.