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Monday, February 17, 2014

Every Four Years - By: @LuigiLemieux

Every Four Years

Article by Kyle Fritz (@LuigiLemieux) for Pens Initiative

6 AM Saturday Morning, 15th of February 2014.

The alarm was like a wakeup call from the front desk of Hell, considering I would not have to show up to work until later that afternoon.

More pressing matters to attend to now however. I needed to jump in the shower and wash the depression from another Valentine's Day massacre off my body, splash on some good ol' American Spirit, and head off to the bar.

I had a 7:30 AM date with destiny. We all did.

Normally a pre-dawn trip to your local watering hole would raise the suspicion of your friends and the trepidation of your loved ones. I have to admit, on the way there I thought to myself a couple of times "I guarantee I am the only dumbass that shows up." I was certain that the early start time for all of us along the Atlantic rather than the Black Sea would dissuade even the most die hard of Puck-heads and Patriots.

Like the British did back in 1775, it would seem that I underestimated the passion and strength of a well armed (and slightly intoxicated) militia.

As I walked through the door I stumbled sleepily into the warm embrace of my fellow Americans. The beer taps were opened and the bar tabs began, as the most excited group of hockey fans this side of the Monongahela River directed their attention to the screens on the wall. It was then that the Yanks, draped in red white and blue skated out to the displeased roar of a crowd all too aware of the history behind the two teams set to face off. If I had not have known better, I'd have thought it was 1980.

Although the Cold War is over and the Iron Curtain for the time being has been replaced by a slightly more progressive set of drapes, The animosity remains all the same. You could feel the tension between the two squads from the drop of the puck. The spirited group of 11,678 Russians packed into the Bolshoy Ice Dome, wanted nothing more than to wash away the horrid taste of being on the wrong side of a miracle that had happened 34 years prior in Lake Placid, New York.

Here on the home front, there was a special feeling all the same. Every four years we get to forget about our hatred of divisional rivals, throw away our ill-will towards any team not draped in whatever colors you and your city may call your own. Every Four years we get to come together as countrymen and cheer on our brothers and sisters, exploding with a certain kind of pride normally reserved for the rockets fired off on The Fourth of July.

Standing there at that bar I certainly could feel it. My heart sinking with every goal allowed, my spirit racing with every wave of the "U-S-A" chant. These are the moments that we should really savor. Because every four years is few and far between, and we never know who, what, or where we may be the next time we get to cheer on our team, America's Team.

Overtime came, and Overtime went. Here we were readying for a shootout. How fitting.

The crowd of bodies clad in varying homages to Old Glory stood at near-attention. Eyes glued on those screens as they had been all morning. The familiar face of Dan Bylsma standing behind the bench gave us Pittsburgh-Americans an even greater sense of pride if that is even possible. He readied his warriors, and sent in his shooters.

The first three Americans shot, as did the first three Russians, yet the outcome had not been sealed. The game was still not decided.

Enter T.J. Oshie.

Actually, enter T.J. Oshie 5 times in a Row.



Cue the napkin toss. Feel the splash of spilt draft beer on your face. Chant the initials of the nation you call your own.

Whether you were at the bar, sitting at home, or streaming live on your computer, take note of the emotions you felt. These moments in sports are special. something in all of us knows it. Although the political ramifications of the game on saturday were nothing like they were back in 1980, the emotional victory still rings as loud as the Liberty Bell.

So what the Soviet Bloc has fallen?

Who cares that the Game did not evoke the same "Good vs. Evil" storyline?

In this day and age, with the bulk of this Country seeking absolutely anything to cheer for, I know it sure made me feel good to see a bar packed with people, up before the Sun, bursting with pride that for some may not have been displayed in a long time.

This is what the Olympics are about. Games like these bring out the American Spirit in all of us that never actually left.

Have a blast with it, be loud, be over the top, show your true colors.

However you choose to celebrate make sure to Remember this moment, because Every Four Years is a long time indeed.

Go America.

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