Why the Bruins?
About 15 years ago, I became sick of hearing, “why the Bruins?” from Montrealers. Then I left Montreal for a good decade, only to return to more of the same. Now, I’m beyond sick of it. I tend to stare off into nothingness as the question is directed at me.
Tonight, despite myself, one word came out of my mouth in response. “Soul.”
I’m not here to perform an analysis of the definition of soul. Heck, I’m an atheist. So how is it that the Bruins have soul? Maybe the team’s got soul; maybe the boys do; maybe it’s that they play with soul. What’s the difference? It’s all poetry.
Religion can be broken; tradition can be broken. Identifying yourself as part of the Black and Gold family is stronger than that. I don’t know why. The more I watch them play, the more I want to watch. The losses strengthen the bond, and the wins have the same effect. It’s a spell; an addiction; a love for the game as it is played by a team that is more than the sum of its parts. Maybe that’s it.
Take a look at these parts, to name a few.
Milan Lucic: Not just an aspiring athlete, but a first-generation North American with hard working parents who encouraged him to keep fighting despite his lack of visibility (“East Side kid who didn’t belong to a winter club, who performed for Tier II teams that scouts didn’t bother watching.”) And this is to say nothing of his thoracic and lumbar spine disease. Looch is no victim but the road had certainly not been lined with red carpet.
Phil Kessel: Fought cancer and won, undergoes monthly hospital visits for bloodwork and moves like a squirrel on the ice, zooming past the others often imperceptibly to demonstrate a scoring ability reminiscent of the greats, returning from his battles against cancer only to come of age as a player headed straight for the history books. One day.
Patrice Bergeron: Je me souviens.
Dennis Wideman: The kid no one wanted. Now, he might just be “the best NHL player you know almost nothing about.”
That’s enough for now. The point is clear. If this is a team of outcasts, they’ve surely found a home.
And if a team is more than the sum of its parts, then this team is bigger than life.