Only 58.3 seconds remained on the clock.
It felt like a lifetime.
Dave Bolland had just mustered in the eventual game-winning goal a mere 17 seconds after Bryan Bickell tied up the game at two. I, like most fans, was on the edge of my seat.
The pure jubilation of what had just occurred within that last minute or so had turned into pure dread as the Chicago Blackhawks needed to close the door on this amazing Stanley Cup Final.
This series had become such an epic back-and-forth battle that doubt continued to creep into my mind as players scrambled and fought to keep the puck out of their zone. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the clock struck zeroes and the ice at the TD Garden became littered with sticks, gloves and helmets as the team celebrated at the end of the ice.
Being just 27 years old, I have not experienced many championships in my lifetime.
Sure, the Chicago Bulls dominated the mid-'90s, but MJ and his crew finished off their championship run when I was just 12 years old, and at that age, I never truly appreciated what those championships meant. I've watched the Cubs get to the brink of a World Series appearance only to squander it away, and I've watched the Bears lose a Super Bowl.
While hockey was never at the forefront of my sports love, growing up I was still well aware of the likes of Jeremy Roenick, Tony Amonte and Chris Chelios. While I occasionally checked in on the Blackhawks throughout the years, my love and respect for the game did not blossom until my college days.
Living with two Blackhawks-crazed roommates upped my interest in the sport, and I became hooked after going to my first game in the fall of 2007. My level of interest continued to climb during their improbable run to the Western Conference Final in 2009 and hit an all-time high during their amazing Stanley Cup run in 2010.
The 2013 season began with a 21-0-3 start and finished with a Stanley Cup victory on Monday night.
Throughout that time, Chicago's fanbase continued to grow and grow as more and more people began to not only fall in love with the Blackhawks but also fall in love with the sport. Meanwhile, the "true" fans have taken to Facebook and Twitter to complain about those who are jumping on the team's bandwagon.
I am a bandwagon jumper, I am not afraid to admit it. My love of this team has grown since the Stanley Cup victory in 2010 and will get even stronger after Monday night's victory.
If watching your team win a championship is the ultimate goal, don't you want to celebrate it with as many fans as you can?
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