Well folks, its almost here, the day we’ve all been waiting for.

The banner gets raised tomorrow, but that is merely incidental. When the Kings take the ice against the Chicago Blackhawks they skate for the first time as champions. For the first time, we as fans can look to the past and smile without the hesitation of memories balanced on pillars of compromise.

“The ‘Miracle on Manchester’ was quite the exciting game!”

“We traded for Wayne Gretzky!…. And made him cry too!!!”

“The ‘Stunner at Staples’ really showed Detroit who’s boss!”

“We… We… Well, we are diehard Kings fans and that’s what matters most”

Pish tosh. The last holdouts of shiny apples in a rotten basket.

This is a whole new orchard, my friends.

“Where do we go from here?”, asks David Essex. Fuck you David, wherever the hell the icy winds take us. Perhaps to dynasty. Maybe mediocrity. They can never take us backward, never again will we not have been champions.

Being a Kings fan is forever changed. No fan born from here will be the same as any that came before. Expectations are now based on results. Our aspirations are to grind our heels more deeply into the face of history, instead of merely hoping to one day save up enough cash to buy the shoes.

Does none of this make sense to you? Good. I haven’t had a coherent thought about the Kings since June 11, 2012. I don’t even know if I’ll cheer tomorrow. I may just smile my way through the game. Perhaps I’ll cry.

There is a chance tomorrow may supersede winning the Cup in my memory. That day was a whirlwind, a fever dream. Tomorrow is measured, calculated, something I can sip on and savor, reminiscing on present moments because there is no ‘if’, there is no more ‘when’.

The Cup is ours. The banner will unfurl. From here on out, everyone who walks into Staples Center, be they there for the Kings, or as Lakers fans, or parents taking their children to see whatever new pop sensation is causing them to teeter on the edge of sucking on a tailpipe, they will bear witness to the testament of our success.

That success changes us. We are not the Kings fans we once were. Tomorrow we become the Kings fans we’ve always wanted to be. Tomorrow we are the Kings fans we’ve earned the right to be.

Consider this your game thread. Yes I know I didn’t write about the lineup, the matchup or the Blackhawks, because I don’t particularly give a shit about any of that, certainly not the Blackhawks. I’ll be surprised if I notice them at all. Tomorrow isn’t about a hockey game. It’s about us.

Enjoy tomorrow, because come Sunday tomorrow will not matter. Sunday I will only see the empty space next to the Stanley Cup Championship banner. The space where the next one will go.