Nothing is more poetic than winning the Stanley Cup. A grueling 82 game schedule, capped with an even more punishing playoff run. Throughout the whole ordeal, there is bloodshed, small triumphs, and agonizing defeats. To go through this, to earn the ultimate glory, the players must not only be prepared physically, but also mentally. And if winning the Cup is poetic, here are a few words of encouragement, based on the greatest poet of all: William Shakespeare. It is based on his St. Crispin’s Day Speech, from Henry V. I’ll cut in as necessary to apply it to our situation.
WESTMORELAND. O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!
KING. What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
Sure, there is always room to upgrade our team. There might have been a few free agents out there that could have helped us more. But screw it, we don’t need anyone else. We can win with what we have now.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
We don’t care about individual honors, or trophies. Let someone else have them. We’re in this for bigger glory.
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
If you are not here to win, go home. Take your paycheck, and get out. In Philadelphia, at this time, if you are not ready to battle, we don’t need you. Give us everything you got, or go the hell home.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say “To-morrow is Saint Crispian.”
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say “These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.”
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
If we pull this off, if we win this Stanley Cup, we will be remembered forever. In Philadelphia, champions are revered forever. A championship team here, is always beloved. We’ll have stories passed throughout the generations. Our feats will live on. As the coach of the first Flyers team that won the Cup, Fred Shero, told his players, “Win today and we walk together forever.”
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.
It’s time right now, to unite together, as a team. Those who are not with us, who do not join us on this epic journey, will wish that they’d been a part of us. Cindy Crysby, Sean Avery, Martin Brodeur, and Ryan Getzlaf can all suck it.
Thanks for reading!
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