For the second time in just eight months, sports fans across the D/FW Metroplex are going championship crazy. Once again, Dallas Stars fans are left waiting and watching, feeling that slight tinge of jealousy as the local media and fans get worked up about another team while the Stars are virtually ignored.
Last fall, just as a very promising Dallas Stars season was getting started* the Texas Rangers were winning over the hearts of old and new alike on their way to the World Series. To be fair, it was the first time in the history of the franchise that the Rangers had even won a postseason series and years of frustration and disappointment were finally paying off. For the most diehard of Rangers fans it was vindication after so long of fighting through mediocrity and many felt it was about time the area became baseball crazy for a very fun team to watch.
*Remember how until February, we were all convinced about how "magical" this season was going to be?
For Stars fans, however, it was difficult to see their team get ignored as what was an apparently magical season was getting underway. Once the frantic roar over the World Series died down, the Stars were still left off the proverbial front page in favor of the Cowboys, Mavericks and even the Rangers.
Now, the Dallas Mavericks are once again facing the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals and championship games will be played once more at the AAC. If you've paid attention at all this postseason, you've seen the American Airlines Center suddenly turn into one of the loudest and rowdiest arenas in all of sports -- for this week, at least -- as Mavs fans seek revenge for the painful Finals loss from 2006.
Even if you're a Rangers, Cowboys or Mavericks fan as well as a Stars fan it's left most of us wondering: When will it be our turn?
Watching the Mavericks clinch the Western Conference Finals last week was one of the most exciting and exhilarating sports events I've ever watched. After years and years of dealing with postseason letdowns by Dirk Nowitzki and the Mavericks, I couldn't believe I was finally going to watch the Mavs back in the NBA Finals. The atmosphere at the AAC was positively electric and I was instantly reminded of the same atmosphere existing in that same arena exactly three years ago.
The past two years have been mired in endless discussion about the lackluster attention by the fanbase and about dwindling attendance at home games. It's tough to remember that just a few years back the AAC was doing its best to raise the ghost of Reunion Arena and the raucousness that existed there in the 1990's, and how that singular victory against San Jose created so many new hockey fans in the Dallas area.
It's frustrating to see how much has changed in just a short time and many can say that most fans in Dallas are "fair weather" and will only show up to support a winner. In a town like Dallas, with so many entertainment and sports options, fans are going to naturally be very selective and when you have the Rangers, Cowboys, Mavericks and Stars all fighting for the attention of the DFW sports fan, someone is going to be left out.
Right now, like it or not, that team is the Dallas Stars.
The Dallas Cowboys will always get the most attention, no matter what. Now we have an NFL lockout, a new and promising head coach and endless potential for a team that is going through a slight rebuild.
The Texas Rangers are coming off a World Series appearance and while this season has lost a bit of the 2010 magic, they're still in first place in the West and will contend in the postseason once more.
The Dallas Mavericks are in the NBA Finals.
The Dallas Stars have missed the playoffs for three straight seasons, haven't signed a big-name free agent since Sean Avery and currently don't have an owner or a head coach.
It's only natural that the Stars will fall to the back of the line. The good news is that the DFW sports fan will be more than happy to show up and cheer on this team once things start moving forward and upward. Is it fair that we have to wait for the Stars to show championship ability for most of the general fanbase to show up once more? Not at all, but there's no changing the fact that this is the reality in which we reside.
It's also not that Stars fans need championship material to root for; sports fans just need hope and promise. Last season, the Rangers fan base started to surge at home games when many realized that a couple of years of rebuilding was suddenly coming to fruition. The same could happen for the Stars, and all it would take is for the team to show something -- anything -- beyond a mid-season surge to the top.
I think we can all admit that even with the Stars sitting on top of the division last season, we were all holding our breath and waiting for the bubble to burst.
Now we wait. A new owner, a new coach and the actual ability to add firepower to a promising roster should provide the ingredients for a resurgence of the Dallas Stars. All of us die hard Stars fans are waiting and ready, and all we need is a little hope.