Charlie Brown would have been a Sharks fan.
Although I’ve never spoken with him, I can only believe that each time Charlie Brown dusted himself off after again trusting Lucy to refrain from yanking away the football, he would have sat down to root for the Sharks.
And it would have been a tossup for the rest of us which experience would be more painful to watch.
Every year, the Sharks make their fans believe. Whether it is for a few days, such as the end of this season, or a few months — pick any one of the previous three years when they won Pacific Division titles.
And that’s why the Sharks’ latest painstaking elimination from the Stanley Cup playoffs at the hands of the Vancouver Canucks seems like just another chapter in their pain-producing history. We all want to tell Sharks fans we told you so, but we don’t.
Given the Sharks history:
- It was no surprise they were seconds away from forcing a sixth game of the series before having that opportunity yanked from them.
- It was no surprise that the season-ending goal, after 30 minutes of breathtaking playoff overtime hockey, would find its way into the Sharks’ goal in such an odd fashion. It always seems to end with the Sharks fans being forced to dust themselves off. That’s why Charlie Brown would fit in so well.
I’ve always maintained that suffering through the Cubs’ long-running tale of woe was no big deal. That team rarely put their fans in a position to believe the franchise had a chance.
I used to say Giants fans had been through more pain, surviving through all those years of thinking, “This is the year.”
But now the Giants and their fans have their World Series title — which heals all previous wounds — leaving the Bay Area with the Sharks (and Cal football, which for many years teased their fans that a Rose Bowl was possible only to be relegated to yet another trip to the Holiday Bowl).
It’s gotten to the point where if the Sharks magically managed to dress the 25 best players in an NHL version of the Miami Heat, I wouldn’t be surprised if they would somehow manage to produce some painful, just-short finish.
But there is a touch of magic to these Sharks — and Charlie Brown for that matter. No matter how many times the rest of us warn them, no matter how many times we point out the countless reasons they’ll be tripped up again — by the time the next season rolls around, the pain is gone and it is time to believe again.
It’s just about the same time Charlie Brown is ready to take another run at that football.
Tim Liotta is a freelance journalist and regular contributor to The Examiner. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.