The Boundless Hope of the Off-Season
On a hot summer night, over 5,000 people showed up at the Nassau Coliseum to watch a game that belongs to winter.Â
What would make all those people spend a Saturday night in July watching a hockey scrimmage between New York Islanders’ prospects?
Hope is the energy that fuels the off-season. Hope is what keeps fans tethered to their favorite sports between the championship game and opening day. Hope is what makes us clutch our season tickets like a security blanket.
As sports fans, we dream big. We always dream big. Even if our team finishes in last place, we spend the off-season daydreaming of scenarios in which our team rises from basement to first place. We go to sleep with visions of championships dancing in our head. Because in the off-season, anything is possible.Â
Those prospects look good, don’t they? Those young guys will bring a much needed spark to the team. The draft picks, the trades, the free agents signed, the guys claimed off waivers. Any one of those players could end up being the missing piece to the puzzle, the guy who brings the team together and propels them on to victory. We scour the newspapers and websites looking for hints of greatness at training camp, looking for words of hope andÂ encouragement from our favorite players.Â
Whether our favorite teams are winners or we’re fans of a struggling franchise, we dream.Â We hope for even more wins, more records, more streaks, another title. We hope for more things to cheer about, more reasons to sit in the stands.
The hope of the off-season is what makes 5,000 people turn up for a hockey scrimmage in July. We see on the ice the future of our team and for a little while, we can imagine another banner hanging from the rafters of the arena. We look at those kids on the ice and imagine them carrying the Stanley Cup while we cheer them from the very seats in which we watched them play on a summer night.
We can dream, can’t we?