Thursday, April 25, 2019

The Playoff Beard

So, my Stanley Cup picks aren't looking too hot, as I sit a cool 1-for-8 after the first round.  In fairness, I don't think anyone could've predicted the incredible number of upsets in this postseason.  On the down side, the only series I predicted correctly was Boston over Toronto, which was the one I absolutely wanted to get wrong.  The Maple Leafs lost in seven games again, though with two added twists of the knife for their fans ---- a) the Leafs won the first, third, and fifth games, so they always seemed on the verge of really taking control before their inevitable defeat, and b) even in the most upset-filled playoffs in history, Toronto still couldn't beat the Bruins.

But that's not the biggest story of this postseason.  The big story is my playoff beard.

Heading into Game One, I hadn't shaved in six or seven days, for no other reason than just simple laziness.  Just before going out with friends to the pub to watch the game, I was planning to shave, only to realize that I didn't have any razors.  So I showed up pretty rugged to the pub, and it was there that the idea was hatched that I shouldn't shave for the remainder of the Maple Leafs' playoff run.

It was a combination of two interesting concepts.  For one, the playoff beard is a distinguished hockey tradition that I'd never been a part of because...well, mostly because I've never played hockey before.  (Ice hockey, that is, since I was player/coach of a championship-winning intramural floor hockey team back in eighth grade.  But, that legendary triumph is another story for another time.)  Secondly, I've been shaving my head for almost 16 years, and I was kind of curious to see what would happen if I just decided to let things grow.  Would I get any growth at all on the top of my bald head?  Would I end up with just the Ed Harris-style cul-de-sac of hair that almost every man on my dad's side of the family eventually ends up with?  How bushy would this beard get?

As we close in on three weeks without shaving, the results are still pretty inconclusive.  I definitely have a visible amount of beard, though it's not really as thick as I'd hoped.  I wasn't expecting Santa Claus after three weeks, but even still, I think I can do better.  There's also the fact that there seems to be some grey hairs in the beard, which is just yikes.  Even stranger, it's unnerving having Walt Frazier and Keith Hernandez following me around at all times, telling me that my beard is weird and that my stache is trash.

So, while the Leafs may be finished, the beard is not.  I've decided that it's unfair to penalize this beard by tying its fate to the Leafs' inevitable doom.  Ergo, I will now keep the beard through the entirety of the Raptors' playoff run, which always stood to be much more promising than the Maple Leafs' postseason.  As I noted in my NBA predictions, it isn't out of the question for the Raptors to reach the NBA Finals, though they'll have a tough go in the second round against the 76ers to deal with first and foremost.  If you think about it, a playoff beard is more fitting for the Raptors than the Maple Leafs anyway.  After all, you think of a beard, you think of a caveman.  You think cavemen, you think dinosaurs.  And raptors, as that sci-fi classic Timmy and the Cloneosaurus taught us, are dinosaurs.  Plus, Walt Frazier was a Knicks legend, not a Rangers legend.

Will I end up shaving this beard in a week or so anyway, or could I potentially get another month...six weeks...TWO months' worth of growth out of this thing?  Could I ironically end up with a James Harden-style beard while the Raptors are actually facing Harden's Rockets in the NBA Finals?

No comments: