It's a sports fans worst nightmare to leave a game early only to vehemently regret the decision afterward. As everyone knows by now, that's what a contingent of Boston Bruins fans experienced when they left TD Garden with the chips down.
The Bruins trailed the Leafs 4-1 in the third period with less than 10 minutes left. A comeback seemed impossible, but you have to remember this is a game 7 and anything can happen.
But, some fans obviously didn't believe a comeback was plausible, so they left. After all the ups and downs of the 2013 season, they gave up on their B's instead of seeing them through to the end.
Boy, was that a mistake. Nathan Horton started the magic at 9:18 of the third and made it a 4-2 game. With less than 1:22 left, Patrice Bergeron scored and being the player he is, scored the game-tying goal with 51 second left in regulation to force overtime. Six minutes and five seconds into overtime, Milan Lucic completed the historic comeback, notching the series winner.
The Bruins are the first team in NHL history to win a game 7 after trailing by three goals in the third period.
To watch the Bruins move on to the next round with a small dent of empty seats in the background was quite strange for me as it was for the others who noticed. According to the Globe and Mail's James Mirtle, roughly 1000 fans exited the arena and were in the surrounding parking lots or had already started their trips home.
@ek3od Well no, only 4 or 5 per cent of people left. Still a lot of people. Outside the building, there was a steady stream— James Mirtle (@mirtle) May 14, 2013
The average reseller ticket price for the game on sites like Stubhub was around $250. Seriously? That is half of my rent. Who pays that much money to watch a hockey game to leave early? Obviously we aren't just talking about any hockey game here. It's the playoffs. It's game 7. It should be ingrained into your psyche not to leave regardless of the score.
This honestly pisses me off. You cannot call yourself a fan of any team whatsoever if your team is in the playoffs and you leave a game 7 because you have no faith in a comeback. Isn't believing in your team the whole part to being a fan?
A three goal lead is not insurmountable. Come on, crazier things have happened! Sports fans have to know that. Especially in Boston.
More locally, look at the Tampa Bay Rays during the 2011 season: They were trailing by seven runs in the seventh inning of the last game of the regular season against the New York Yankees with the playoffs on the line. Despite the deficit, the Rays ended up tying the game and winning it in the 12th inning and earning a place in the baseball playoffs. Some sports gurus call this one of the greatest comebacks in baseball history.
And, guess what? Some fans gave up, walked away, took their ball and went home early... They culdn't be bothered to see their team off -- win or lose -- on the last day of the MLB season.
Listen up sports fans. Stay in your seat until the game is over. Nothing is worth leaving a game with such high stakes.
Those who gave up and left will be kicking themselves for awhile now. Why would they leave anyway? What would even be a good reason? To beat traffic? Get a better excuse. To go to bed early? Lame. Or maybe it was a school night? Well, should have thought of that through before you bought the ticket. Come on...10 minutes plus an overtime would not have killed you. You would have witnessed arguably the greatest comeback in NHL history.
To me, it is sad to see fans leave a game with such implications. As a sports fan, you are supposed to have that passion for your team. Usually, you abandon all reality and think, "we can do this," no matter what the circumstances are and you stay until the game is over (while praying to the hockey, baseball, basketball, or whatever gods along the way).
I am not talking about casual fans either. I would imagine only a handful of "casual" fans shelled out so much money to go to the Bruins - Leafs game.There are a few media outlets that interviewed Bruins fans the day after the game asking them about their decision. All of them regret leaving the game, but some of them just had lame excuses.
Josh Brogadir of NECN interviewed one Bruins fan who left early and this is all he had to say: "You know what, if me leaving had a hand in them winning I'm ok with it, but obviously I would have loved to have been there to celebrate with everybody. But I'm glad it worked out the way it did."
Simply put, if you call yourself a fan, and not just a casual one, stay until the end of the game. Support the team until the end and you just might witness history.