The Detroit Red Wings managed to score a goal with about five minutes left last night to win their Game 7 playoff game with the Anaheim Ducks by a score of 4-3 in a hockey game that was genuinely fun to watch. The Wings now go on to the Western Conference finals against the Chicago Blackhawks, while the Ducks go back to Anaheim to do whatever it is that waterfowl do at Disney Land in the offseason.
After a disappointing effort from the 2008 Detroit Tigers and the utter disaster of an 0-16 Detroit Lions that seemed to symbolize our regional implosion, we've had a couple of nice little sports team successes around here. The first came when Michigan State's men's basketball team advanced to the NCAA Finals in a Final Four held here in Detroit at Ford Field. The second is this nice NHL post-season run by the Red Wings. The good run by the Red Wings isn't entirely unexpected, since they won the Stanley Cup last year and were very good during the regular season this year. But it has been fun so far.
On a list of things that are important for quality of life for an area, I would list "professional sports" well out of the top 100 issues. And yes, I include major college sports as "professional sports" as should anybody who has ever taken a look at that system. (I would, however, list "youth sports" a good deal higher on that list, since I believe that youth sports do serve an important educational purpose.)
But there is no getting around the fact that a good performance by the local lads is a bit of a mood lifter. With all the bad news in Detroit and Michigan these days, an early playoff exit by the Wings would've been just another item on a long, long list of Detroit bummers. Victory over the formerly Mighty Ducks doesn't change the facts on the ground hereabouts by one iota, but it does add a bit of cheer to an otherwise grim Spring. And that does make the load a bit easier to carry, a genuinely good thing.
So, "Let's go, Red Wings!" (Clap! Clap! Clap-clap-clap!)