Musings from an Orthodox Avid Sports Fan

As a kid, one of my fondest memories was in 2001, when legendary Avalanche Defenseman Raymond Bourque finally won the Stanley Cup. Captain Joe Sakic was given the prize, and he immediately turned and handed it to Ray Bourque, who played 22 seasons waiting for that magical moment. He lifted it over his head, and as he did, sports fans across the world– yours truly included– couldn’t hold back from crying tears of joy. Heck, as I write these very words, I am fighting back wet salty tears just thinking about it.

There is something very unique about winning the Stanley Cup, and the celebration around it. Players give it their all for a whole season, and 16+ games in the playoffs for this moment, and it is special to watch. Guys play their whole careers for this moment.

Tonight, the Colorado Avalanche have a chance to win the Stanley Cup for the first time in over 20 years in front of their home crowd. They have the chance to help solidify the legacy of superstars Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan Mckinnon, and to win the Cup for a number of players who have been playing in the league for a very long time.

And I– avid sports fan that I am– will miss it.

Taking the action in during Game 1

In The Big Lebowski, John Goodman famously said, “I don’t roll on Shabbos.”

For me, I don’t watch my team play for the Stanley Cup on Shabbos.

I won’t go so far to say it is like when the great Sandy Koufax opted not to pitch in the World Series game that fell out on Yom Kippur. But, it is not easy nonetheless.

In the summer months we often bring in Shabbos early, for the sake of the kids, so we can have a semblance of a normal bed time.

Tonight, there is a temptation to bring it in with sundown as we do during the winter, which tonight is at 8:31 PM. That would get me about 2 full periods of action before going into Shabbos.

But the truth is, Shabbos is more important. Like, way more important. While the Avs are potentially hoisting the cup, I will be seated at our majestic Shabbos table with my wife –actually, as she has COVID now, maybe not– and 7 children around me. We will be partaking in a meal fit for kings and queens, and connecting with each other completely undistracted from anything else.

We will be basking in an intimate candle lit dinner date with the Almighty, and taking a minute to breathe– something I admittedly have not done well during the tense Avalanche games.

We will be singing songs in Hebrew called zemiros, harmoniously, declaring our faith in G-d and our appreciation and joy in the gift we have have been given called Shabbos.

So while I have been patiently waiting over 20 years for this moment tonight as the Avs might win the Cup, I have also been waiting 7 days for another Shabbos– a blessed gift for which I truly cannot wait another moment.


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