It’s been 5 days since the Jets lost against Vegas in Game 5 and had their hopes of lifting Lord Stanley’s cup above their heads smashed. It’s also been 5 days since fans have begun to mourn their own hopes of victory. Ben and I wanted it so bad. I wanted the win. I wanted to finally see the Jets long history of loss and frustration come to an end. I thought it was going to be our year. It seemed impossible that Vegas, a team formed only 8 months ago, could go all the way to the finals and likely win- but that’s just my prediction.
On Monday, the day after our premature end, Ben and I saw Adam Lowry in Osborne Village. I totally fan-girled out and slightly embarrassed myself but it was totally worth it. We wanted him to know how much we appreciated such a good season but we could tell he looked down and a little defeated- exactly how we felt. On Tuesday, Ben and I watched the post-season interviews with most of the players after they cleaned out their lockers. On Wednesday, I went back to every Jets player that I follow on Instagram and looked back on the moments they celebrated this season. Yesterday I read every article out there that gave me hope that guys like Stastny and Trouba would sign up for another few years with our Jets. Today, I’m writing a blog post about it. I guess I’m grieving. But grieving what exactly?
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the idea of community. I’ve been watching the show Community on our Amazon Prime account. I’ve been reading some thoughts others have had on the topic... but full disclosure- I don’t have a lot of time to read so it’s mostly snippets on the internet. I’ve even spoken about it twice at our church when I was asked to share. Most importantly, I’ve been trying to participate in the communities around me- our families, our friends, our church, Mom groups, workplace colleagues, dog club and our physical community of Osborne Village. I never find it easy to intentionally participate in community but it is always an experience that gives me joy and teaches me difficult lessons.
Ben has taught me something important on the topic of community, even though it screams pessimism, which is: people will always disappoint us. I’m sure many of you have known this for a long time but for some reason when I started learning this a few years ago I struggled with it. I didn’t want to believe that people around me would always disappoint me but the longer I sat with this discouraging idea, the easier it was to be in community. I no longer expected people to do what they said they were going to do. I no longer believed that I could be fulfilled by the people around me. I was free from the idea that community would perfectly meet my needs, support me, encourage me, fill me up. Now, I’m totally okay with this idea. People WILL always disappoint me but now that I’m okay with that I feel more able to be part of community. It is imperfect, broken, messy and beautiful.
When the Jets won the first game of the post-season against the Wild, Winnipeg’s collective lungs breathed a sigh of relief- our first playoff win- and ever since then we were on a ride together. As if we were a community of 778,489 people all with one purpose: to see the Jets hoist the cup. We were united in hope and anticipation; we were rising together (see what I did there?) to support our Jets, our team. We were the whiteout.
And then Vegas happened. And now we are without our sense of togetherness, of community. At least for me, this is what I’m grieving. I’m grieving the feeling of knowing the stranger on the street because we’re both wearing white on game day. There was a vulnerability we shared in hoping for what has been impossible in the entirety of Jets’ history. I was not prepared for disappointment this time as I normally am with community.
The lesson here is not that I should have been prepared for the Jets to lose... it’s that sometimes there are beautiful gifts that come from being part of a community that is hoping for something miraculous to happen. Even when the series was 3-1 in favour of Vegas, Winnipeggers continued to hope.
I’m already talking about next season predicting that we meet Vegas again in the first round of the playoffs and kick their asses. I am hopeful.
We Are Winnipeg!!!