Last night, the Chicago Blackhawks won hockey's Stanley Cup -- for the first time since 1961. Their victory ended the NHL's longest championship drought, so now the Toronto Maple Leafs have had the most extended wait since they last hoisted the Cup (1967).
In the New York/New England area, we are used to success with our professional baseball and football teams (hockey and basketball, not so great lately). Other parts of the country aren't so lucky. Sacramento Kings fans haven't witnessed an NBA title since 1951, when the team was actually the Rochester Royals. The Arizona Cardinals came close in the NFL recently, but they have been waiting since 1947 for a championship (won last when they were located in Chicago, coincidentally). And saddest of all are the Blackhawks' baseball brethren in Chicago, the Cubs, where generation after generation has waited patiently -- since 1908 -- for the title of World Champion.
Long-suffering but loyal fans can find solace in Joe Queenan's True Believers: The Tragic Inner Life of Sports Fans. Why do we invest so much passion and emotional energy into rooting for sports teams that disappoint us more often than not? Chicago Blackhawks fans now know the answer: for nights like last night. Congratulations to the new champions!