There are times throughout the course of history that a sports team will transcend from a good team, to one hell of a great team that you love to cheer for. For the Dallas Stars and their fans, the past two years have been filled with disappointment, anger, regret, frustration and sadness at seeing some long-time greats depart. Over the course of this past summer, the leaders of the organization vowed that things would change -- that the Stars would once again become a great team that strikes fear in the hearts of its opponents and one that would threaten to take home the ultimate symbol of glory that exist in all of sports.
We didn't see it at the time, but now? We believe.
For on the ice there exists a team of warriors, of men that fight through adversity the likes of which have never been seen before in hockey. Their nightly battles against their foes bring us joy and triumph as the Stars continue their season-long crusade towards the seemingly unattainable goal that lies ahead. Yet we sit there on our couches or sofas, we drink our beer and our sodas and eat our nachos while cheering for the team we love, all the while naive to the true battles these men face night after night.
Such as somehow and some way finding the courage and strength to score a goal, despite a small cut on the thumb of a hand.
Or being able to get multiple points a night while fighting through the extreme pain and discomfort of a split lip. That bled.
Some players, such as James Neal, fights through so much pain that the team won't disclose exactly what ails him on any given night.
For those that exhibit the ultimate form of bravery, heart, fearlessness and physical and mental fortitude no matter what hurdles must be overcome, the Dallas Stars bestow upon them the honor of the Nerf Warrior Sword. The bearer of this sword proudly displays the symbol of his triumph until the next game, when other candidates are named before the next contest.
Legend says that Adam Burish discovered the store in a mysterious shop in a dusty town when the team was traveling, knowing right away that no price ($9.99) could stand between him and the sword he knew would symbolize the strength of this hockey team more than any other. James Neal, Brad Richards, Loui Eriksson and Kari Lehtonen have all had their crests emblazoned on the steel of this magnificent sword.
As the Stars trudge on, weary feet plodding one at a time towards the final quest that lies before them, there stands a leader that guides them. The One who wears the Sword -- displaying for all to see just how resilient, tough and unflappable this once-again great team truly is -- leads them on.