How to Prepare Mentally/Physically for the Playoffs by @MedinaMarie_PI

It is about to get crazy, so Buckle Up Baby!
Hockey fans, we are only six days away from the second season. Yes, it's playoff time. Years come off our lives thanks to the stress, a plethora of overtime games, and in some cases, games that start at an ungodly hour of the evening. It is a textbook love/hate relationship.

The NHL Playoffs are not for the faint-hearted fan. It can be taxing on even the most seasoned of watchers.

This year will be no different. In fact, it may be even worse.

The Pittsburgh Penguins will dive in headfirst and face the Columbus Blue Jackets. While it is a welcome change from our usual opponent, the New York Rangers, a series with the Jackets will not be like any other bout.

This series bodes to be a full on battle of attrition, and the outlook only gets more difficult from there. Should the Penguins send their Ohio foes packing, they will more than likely face the Washington Capitals in the second round.

It's fixing to become a war zone. With less than a week before the first shots are fired, here are some tips on how to mentally prepare yourself for the long and emotional road ahead.


Tip 1): Come to terms with the fact that going 16-0 in the playoffs is impossible.
Who can name the last team that swept the modern-day playoff format? A team that won four games in a row in every series? The answer is no one because it hasn't been done. It will never be done. It would take a team built from unicorn kisses and sparkling fairy magic to do so.  When you have sixteen of the best teams in the entire league facing off in one tournament, chances are your team is going to lose a few games. Come to peace with that.

Tip 2): Warn your neighbors:
This may seem silly, but I have found it to be necessary in some cases. If your home is in close proximity to your neighbors, or live in an apartment complex, it may be in your best interest to post or verbalize some sort of warning that the playoffs have begun. Let them know that the profanities, yelling, and cheering are not the result of a rowdy party or domestic dispute but that you are, in fact, watching a sporting event. Not doing so could result in the police or apartment complex manager unexpectedly showing up at your door wondering what all the commotion is about.





Tip 3): Food and beverage is a must
All that emotion can work up quite a thirst and since most games occur during (late) suppertime, having good munchables is essential. To keep from passing out or getting overly hangry, have some of your favourite game time finger foods on hand. It can even better if you are watching with a group. Each person can bring something. Then there will be many goodies to choose from in which to fill rumbly tummies between periods.

To wash it down, keep some of your favourite beverages stocked in the fridge at all times. Water, however,  is always the best option. It provides optimal hydration and if spilled due to a sudden "jump up and cheer" moment (or if you throw it across the room in rage and it happens to break open), it wont stain anything.

Tip 4): An "Oh Shit" Brick/ "WTF" Puck is a good thing to have
Cell phones are a wonderful thing. You can contact other humans, post your feelings or opinions on social media at a whim, and make silly pictures with them. However, intense sporting events have lead to the demise of many a phone which causes sheer panic and strife for the owner. Not to mention being out close to $600. Here is a better alternative: invest in some type of stress object that you can smash, throw, crush, stomp on, or do whatever number of violent things to without causing property (or bodily) damage when the game is not going well or if the referee makes a terrible call. A $5 investment could save you hundreds later.


Tip 5): Breathe!
The NHL playoffs can take any fan to the edge of their seat. It can get so intense that one might even find themselves crouched on their seat when a game is tied with under two minutes left in the game. In these moments, remember that oxygen is your friend. Breathing is a good thing. The last thing anyone wants is to end up rushed to the emergency room because they held their breath for an entire 3-on-3 overtime period. Breathe...just breathe.


If all else fails and you care to just wing it for the next few weeks, might I suggest this to help soothe your stress (for those of you who are of legal age of course):
Beer and wine will have you feelin' fine

Let the games begin and Let's Go Pens!!!




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About Medina Menozzi

I write about the Penguins and anything associated with them. I work a lot and my social life reflects that. How do you handle me? With a good shot of tequila and a prayer. Kat Stratford is my spirit animal.
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