I remember my heart pounding, excitement building as Ales Hemsky skated to the side of the Detroit Red Wings net, and slid home a game-winning goal past Manny Legace. Rexall Place erupted as the Edmonton Oilers were on the verge of winning their first playoff series since 1998.
I guess you could say there was something in the air that season, the stars were bright as Fernando Pisani became a local hero – helping lead the Oilers to the Stanley Cup Finals.
I remember the heartbreak as Rod Brind’Amour and the Carolina Hurricanes hoisted the Stanley Cup.
Ten years later, the memories are still fresh in our minds. But for some younger fans – it’s all history. The Oilers haven’t been in the playoffs since 2006. To put it in perspective, that’s a full year before the iPhone was made available to the public.
The Stanley Cup drought is even longer – as the Oilers haven’t sipped from Lord Stanley’s mug in 26 years.
Needless to say, calling ourselves “long suffering Oilers fans” isn’t an understatement. Now just imagine being a fan of the Chicago Cubs.
Think about that; your favourite team hasn’t won a championship in 108 years. In fact, they haven’t even played in the World Series since 1945. It’s mind boggling.
When the Cubs last won the World Series, the NHL didn’t exist, the Province of Alberta was just three years old and former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson was born.
On Wednesday night, the Cubs have a chance to end that painfully long drought.
I can only imagine some Cubs fans tossing and turning last night, dreaming of a World Series win or having nightmares fuelled by Billy Goats and Steve Bartman.
But tonight, what seemed like an impossible dream may just turn into reality.
The Chicago Cubs are 27 outs, nine innings away from ending a century-plus-long drought.
So to all you Cubs fans out there – enjoy this moment, savour every second. This is your time. Make it count.
P.S. Much of the same could be said about the Cleveland Indians, but their World Series drought is significantly shorter. It’s only been 68 years.
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