Why Do I Care So Much?

Noel Vasquez

Emotions after a season died.

Why do I care so much?

It's a question I've asked myself a thousand times in my life. None of those times, however, were as loud as it was last night as I sat awake at four in the morning trying to will myself to sleep. Remember when I told you all after the New York Rangers Game 6 victory over the Montreal Canadiens to send them to the Stanley Cup Final that it was the happiest I've ever been as a sports fan? Friday night was without a doubt the worst. And it's really not even close.

I am empty right now. I'm numb. When I think back about the Rangers' series, all the bounces that didn't go their way, the officiating that I believe turned both Game 2 and Game 5 I feel empty. It's all consuming. It's depressing. It's horrible.

Why do I care so much?

I'm getting married in less than six months. I have a wonderful family. I have a good job. I just got a puppy (Stanley) who is awesome in every way imaginable. I have this space, all of you and all the staff members; which is about as special of a thing I've accomplished in my entire life. Things are good. I should be happy. And I am. But the Rangers touch a part of my heart no one else can. I can't explain it, it doesn't make sense. The good thing is that I don't have to explain it to you. You understand, too.

But why? What sense does this make? Why should something like this impact my emotions so drastically? How can a group of guys take everything I've accomplished in my life and in a night and erase it for a few hours like it didn't even happen? How can I care this much about something that I have no control over?

Why do I care so much?

I've been a fan since the day I was born. Well, sort of. My Dad made me watch a game with him in the hospital the night I was born. My Mom woke me up 20 years ago to watch the Rangers celebrate their Stanley Cup victory in 1994. I remember none of it. I was six.

Which made me realize that the Rangers have been in my life for my entire life. That's a connection I don't have with very many things. So are the memories my Dad and I have made going to the games over the years, along with my Uncle before he died a couple of years ago. It's run in my bloodlines for so long, the roots have dug in so deep that it's impossible not to develop an emotional connection. I love this team because I've always loved this team. Because my Dad loved this team. Because I believe my Uncle was watching last night, too. Because that makes me feel better. Just a little.

Where else are you going to get that? Nothing else can even compare.

While I was laying awake the memories of Henrik Lundqvist fighting through tears with his interview hurt me. Remembering everything Martin St. Louis went through and has done for this organization was like a gut punch. Recalling Dominic Moore's struggles and his success story was overwhelming. The look on the guy's faces as the Kings celebrated? It broke my heart. I swear to you it did. It broke me.

It broke me because I love this team more than almost anything else in my life. I wanted this for them almost more than I wanted this for myself. Isn't that strange? Despite all this emptiness I am proud of this team. Dammit I am. Win or lose this team has always been there for me. Always. They've always made me happy, no matter how bad the season. Always.

There is nothing like going to The Garden for a Rangers game. Nothing like sitting there with my Dad or my friends, catching up and enjoying the game. There's nothing like being around New York when the team is good, especially during this run when they were a surprise. Seeing the celebrities and athletes at the game. Marveling at Henrik Lundqvist. Continuing to dream and hope about the day the Rangers do get to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup. Enjoying every game with all of you. All that stuff matters.

I can't get over how proud I am of this team. How happy they make me. What they have and will continue to mean for me. I love them. I always have and I always will. Somehow I love them more in the worst times than the best.

That's why I care so much.

Thanks for everything, boys. You were amazing.

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