As much as I love football--both college and pro--this is the absolute best time of the year.
I just love everything about this time of year. Out-of-market games are entertaining, because not only do you get to see the other stars of the league in action, it's hard not to have a rooting interest in every single game.
I love that we just went through a stretch of a month where there was hockey on every night but two or three. And when there wasn't hockey--and a lot of times when there was--there was basketball on every night, including TNT's amazing studio show, Inside The NBA.
I love that I watch games that I would've had no interest in in the regular season. Would I watch a Mavericks/Warriors game in the regular season? Probably not. Come playoff time, you're damn right I want to see the #1 team in the league upset in the first round. The entire Western Conference bracket mattered to me in the NHL, due to the seeding and my (it turns out, irrational) fear of playing the San Jose Sharks in the second round.
I love triple-headers.
I love staying up til O-dark-30 watching quadruple overtime games, knowing that the next day is going to be hell.
I love that slight feeling of disappointment when someone finally scores, just because it's over.
I love how I feel slightly cool for staying up until the end of one of those epic overtime games, even if it actually just makes me kind of a dork.
I love my superstitions, and hearing about everyone else's.
I love the fact that just because the Wings won a game against Calgary, while two friends from high school and I were in a group chat on AIM, we've repeated the chat almost every game since then. The one game we didn't? Game One against San Jose, which we lost.
I love that I was blamed for the loss by my friends, for not coming into the chat.
I love that I felt some remorse for that.
I love that when one of my buddies was going to the bar to watch the game, since it was on Versus and the Sopcast feed wasn't working, he left his screen name signed into the chat "to keep it going".
I love that I actually spent 20 minutes standing in front of my closet, trying to decide which jersey to wear on a day when both the Wings and Pistons were playing.
I love that I've dubbed my Nicklas Lidstrom Team Sweden jersey "The Closer" and I only bust it out when the Wings really need the luck.
I love that I'm actually having a debate whether to wear "The Closer" tomorrow, even though it's only Game One, just because we're 3-0 in the playoffs when I wear it.
I love that I fully intend on dragging my girlfriend's cat into the room to watch all future overtime playoff games, since he was in our living room for both overtime winners the Wings have had in the playoffs.
I love that I was turned on to how wonderful the crowd out in Oakland is for Warriors games. And I love Charles Barkley for ripping on them, just for the hell of it.
I love the moment of dread when you realize that Barry Melrose might actually pick your team (Thankfully, it hasn't happened in these playoffs).
I love the excitement of winning a series that your team isn't supposed to win.
I love waking my girlfriend up at 2 in the morning with a joyful yell, after an overtime game winner.
I love that when I wasn't sure Mathieu Schneider's OT shot went in, I waited until after seeing the replay to get excited about the GWG (even though both teams had left the ice), and upon seeing it gave a yell anyway, simply because I didn't want to be deprived of waking up the neighborhood.
I love that I felt a need to post a "Why shouldn't I dread this series versus Anaheim" thread over at letsgowings.com (even though I don't actually fear the Ducks all that much--not to say they can't beat Detroit), simply because I posted the same thread before the San Jose series and we won.
I love that most people got the joke.
I love that there's no rational explanation for any of this, and I love that I quite simply don't care.
I love the added bonus (beside, well...winning) that if your team keeps winning, you get to keep watching them.
I love that the Calgary Flames are golfing right now. The Indiana Pacers, too.
I love the 1:00 am "Did you see that??!!" calls to my dad.
I love that Rasheed gets 7 more technicals to burn.
I love how the Pistons think of the little things, like adding a steam whistle behind the basket and including a sound byte of Rip Hamilton exclaiming "Yussirrrrrrr" after he makes a shot.
I love how the intensity of the game picks up ten-fold over the regular season.
I love watching the reaction of the crowd on replays, when I already know the shot is going in.
And lastly, I love that the Wings and Pistons have provided so much entertainment over the years. And I love that I've learned to enjoy every second of it, because you never know when you might get back.
15/32nds of the way to the Double Championship that I longed for last year. Keep it going, guys!