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Mark McGuire's Talking It Over
by Mark McGuire

Talking It Over

A Daily Gazette news blog
What's being talked about in the Daily Gazette, Schenectady, the Capital Region, nation and a few other places.

Celebrating more than a hockey game

By Mark McGuire
Thursday, April 17, 2014
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Schenectady, this your moment, your party.

Kick aside all those reports, some dubious, others valid, about a city in strife.

Dismiss the generations of easy jokes, many revolving the funny-sounding name.

Ignore the fact that ESPN felt obligated to put (NY) after Union's name on the screen, over the objections of the college, as if people couldn't find it on a map. People can find it easily enough now: All they need to do is look atop the college hockey world.

Blow off all of it. Today, in the streets and at City Hall, celebrate who you are, even if you are celebrating what a local team accomplished.

The Union team rejoiced on the Philadelphia ice Saturday night, hoisting NCAA Division I men's hockey championship trophy.

Back on Union Street, kids celebrated wildly, too. There were a few knuckleheads, there always is, but just a few. Most merely represented.

But today is a day not just to celebrate a team and school, but a city, even a region. (You, too, Troy, as hard as it may be when Union is involved.) Sports provide us a tribal identity that subjugates other divisions. Today it's OK to say “We,” even if you never laced up a pair of skates.

In setting the stage prior to the 1980 “Miracle on Ice” hockey game between Team USA and the USSR, announcer Al Michaels adroitly noted the moment transcended sports.

“I'm sure there are a lot of people who do not know the difference between a blue line and a clothesline,” he said. “It's irrelevant. It doesn't matter.”

Yeah, this is just a hockey team, and just a hockey title. That's not irrelevant, but not the whole story. There is much more to celebrate.

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