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Phoenix: Always a bridesmaid, never a bride

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
Saints 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

While we’ve been to the holy altar of sports once with the
2001 Diamondbacks, the question is: will we get there
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.