I don't do technical "game speak" like so many fans. I couldn't tell you exactly what happened to Vancouver's play to help us win Game 5 on Friday night, except that it probably had something to do with our goalie not letting in a single goal. But what I do understand is the almost palpable feeling of excitement that has been gripping the city for the past few weeks. Flags are waving, horns are honking, strangers are talking to each other in the street; the hockey game is a cultural touch point that brings people together. Even if you're not a fan, you can't help but be affected by the city's mood.
I imagine it felt like this in Johannesburg last year when the city was cheering on the South African team in the FIFA World Cup. Or in Mumbai, when India faced Pakistan in the semi-finals of World Cup Cricket this spring. And this is what the citizens of Rio de Janeiro have to look forward to five years from now, when they host the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Of course the NHL and large-scale events like the Olympics have their critics too, and with good reason. But at this moment in time, living in a city intoxicated with good cheer (and with the chance of winning the Stanley Cup on my birthday) I'm happy to keep riding the fan wave.