On Friday night, it felt like the sports world was caving in.
It doesn't really matter if you've played sports before; we all know the gut-punch too well that the Columbus Blue Jackets received on Friday night. Even though the game was tied going into overtime, we all knew what was going to happen. They should've just ended it after the Toronto Maple Leafs' third goal.
Momentum is a wild factor in sports. One second, you're up 3-0 and ready to move onto Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and ten minutes later, you're questioning your identity as a franchise.
I was one of those fans who called "ball game" too early on Friday night. Literally. Look at what I tweeted. What is wrong with me?
This only led to further devastation when the Maple Leafs did their thing - and I was instinctively left with the only foreseeable reality which was that we were going to get anihalited in Game 5 on Sunday night.
All the energy was drained out. All hope was lost. All momentum shifted. It's over, right?
Well, that's probably what Toronto fans were feeling after their own epic collapse in Game 3. And when they were down 1-0, 2-0 and 3-0 respectively on Friday night. The lesson to be learned? Each day is a new day, each moment is a new moment. Until the series is officially over, it ain't over.
Therefore, it's no time to wave the white flag. Well, as fans, we can if we want, it more so just matters what the players are going to do. And right now, leaders like Seth Jones are preaching a mindset of not becoming prisoners of the moment:
"This is what happens in a series. The ups and down, it’s a roller coaster. We’ve got to try to stay as even-keeled as we can and deal with these ebbs and flows," Jones said following Game 4. "We’re not going to dwell on it. We’re going to put it behind us and get ready for Game 5."
As physical of a game that hockey can be, there's a huge mental edge to it, too, as is in any sport. It's important to be able to move on from moments, plays, and games. Jones clearly has the right mindset here in sports - don't get too high, don't get too low, not until the game (or series) is really over, at least.
Again, we all are probably just counting down the hours until the Blue Jackets get booted out of Canada on Sunday, but again, that's likely what all Toronto fans felt entering Friday night. Let's take a step back, breathe, and get excited for Sunday.
Oh - and also, let's remind ourselves it's just a game. Life can go on, folks. Let's let it.
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