Yesterday morning, my dad called and asked me, "So are the Kings wearing a crown tonight, or a jester's hat?"
"It's a test of their maturity," I said. "They could easily be up 3-1 right now if they were a more mature team. If they can play their game tonight, instead of trying to out-Shark the Sharks like they did on Tuesday, I think they can win. If they win tonight, I think they win the series. But I'm pretty sure they're just not mature enough to settle down, and they're probably going to lose."
"So, jester's hat, then."
Did my dad just give me the tl;dr? Did I just get Trolldad'd?
"…yeah," I said, "probably."
"Well, go Kings!" He said.
"Yep. Go Kings. Love you, dad."
"Love you too."
While last night's game wasn't a collapse nearly as epic as Tuesday's disaster, the Kings still allowed three goals on five shots, including two on back-to-back shots. The defense looked like a bunch of beer leaguers, and I'll be astonished if my beloved LA Kings play more than one more game this year.
Contrary to what my only-mostly-joking Twitter Rageface may lead you to believe, this wasn't entirely unexpected. The Kings weren't even supposed to make the playoffs last year, so they're still a year ahead. This was the year they were supposed to get in (and had they not shit the bed at the end of the season, probably would have beaten Phoenix or Nashville) and maybe get to the second round. So, taking the long view, (say it with me, Cubs fans!) There's Always Next Year.
Later in the day, I was up the street talking with my neighbors, who have a five year-old and a twelve year-old. They know that Anne and I are empty nesters (SCORE) and they invited us up to their house to dye Easter eggs with their family.
I love that I live in a place where I get to stand on my lawn and visit with my neighbors, and I love even more that I live in a place where my neighbors invite my wife and me to spend some time with their family doing what is typically a family activity.
I had a choice to make: stay home and watch the hockey game, or miss at least the first two periods and go up the street. I love hockey, I love my Kings, and I love the playoffs … but honestly, it's just a game. It wasn't a very difficult decision.
A little after seven last night, Anne and I walked up the street to their house, and spent about two hours with their family and another one of our neighbors, turning eggs into art — well, some semblance of art, anyway. I'm one of those artists who can tell stories and perform characters, but I can't even make a good looking stickman with some pipe cleaners and a sign that says, "THIS IS A STICKMAN."
But it was still a really good time. It's been fourteen years since I dyed Easter eggs with a five year-old, and I'd forgotten just how much fun it is to watch that fragile eggshell mind in action, mixing colors, drawing shapes, and offering the unique perspective and commentary that comes from a lifetime that currently isn't much longer than sixty months.
We made eggs that were covered with glitter, eggs that had patterns drawn on in white crayon, and eggs that were shrink wrapped with pictures of duckies and bunnies.
To see my effort to nerd things up, look past the jump:
Here's my effort to nerd things up a little bit:
And here's Anne making my effort look like the Kings to her Sharks:
I know, right? The important thing is, I tried and had fun. Also, my wife out-nerded and out-crafted me. That's pretty awesome. (The five year-old said to me, "Your egg is kind of nerdy, but hers is really nerdy.")
It was a great time, and as we walked home, I was grateful to live in a place that feels like a small town, even though we're in the middle of a sprawling metropolis.
After we put our eggs in the fridge, I watched the third period of the game. It was a disaster for the Kings, who gave up three goals on four shots, and will almost certainly be eliminated on Saturday in San Jose; this team just isn't ready, yet. That's a drag, of course, but it's just a game, and as the days turn into weeks and the weeks into months, it will remain just another hockey game … but I have the memory of making Doctor Who Easter eggs with my wife, our neighbors, and their children.
I made a good choice, and as far as the playoffs go, there's always next year.