Betting on the next suffering city to win 

June, 18, 2010

The idea came to me when I saw the Michael Jordan statue draped in a Blackhawks jersey during the Stanley Cup.

I thought about all the time I had spent going to the old Chicago Stadium for Hawks games, back when Bill Wirtz ran the team and you could only see them on the dearly departed Sportschannel. That was when Doug Wilson skated around without a helmet, his perm defying the breeze that ran though the old barn whenever the doors on Madison opened. My friends and I were such big hockey fans we re-enacted hockey fights with each other outside our school cafeteria, pulling T-shirts over each other's heads like we were goons before landing upper cuts. We were totally cool; had lots of friends. To this day, if someone says to me, "You want to go, pretty boy?" I immediately get teary-eyed for Rob Lowe and Cynthia Gibb. Then I want to drop my gloves.

Anyway, I digress. While mired in that wave of nostalgia, I wondered: Before this season, what were the odds that the Blackhawks would be the next Chicago team to win a title? I would have put my money on the Bears or the Bulls, or even the Cubs, before picking my favorite hockey team. Then I realized that I know people who could answer this question. And not just for a title-starved city like Chicago -- the White Sox's World Series title seems a generation old already -- but for real drought towns like Minneapolis or Cleveland.