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Effective immediately. My experiment in choosing a team to “follow” and “support” throughout the Stanley Cup Play-offs is over. Done. Definitely a bad decision.

I should have just stuck to the premise of being a “Freelance Fan.” Going from game to game, enjoying the sport, appreciating different players and coaches. Definitely stress free. But somewhere along the line, I started to care… for a team I did not want to like… and, well, life got complicated.

Cheering for the (and I still have a hard time admitting this) New York Rangers definitely made the first two rounds exciting. Granted, I was rather secretive about it, given my history with New York-based teams. Only a few people knew this secret.

Mistake number one. I bought a Rangers t-shirt. I only wore it outside the  house once—to the grocery store the day before Game 7 of the Caps series—and I never, ever wore it during a game.

Mistake number two. Donning the shirt while watching a game. Rangers lost. Lesson learned. T-shirt back in the drawer; next game, Rangers win 3-0 shut out.

You’d think I’d have learned my lesson… well, you’d think. Instead of just enjoying the Devils-Rangers series, I started looking forward to the games, planning my schedule around them, giving up three hours on the beach to watch last Saturday’s game. I was seriously in trouble.

The Big Mistake… last night’s Game 5. Home well before game time. Soaking up the atmosphere, wishing I were at MSG. Realizing I really, really, really  (really) wanted the Rangers to win. Preferably a shut out so I could hear the crowd cheer “Hen-Rik! Hen-Rik!” Goals by Ryan Callahan and Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik and… just maybe a smile from that fabulously fun Coach John Tortorella.

Knew I was in trouble by the end of the first period. One of those say-it-ain’t-so moments. But, ever the (new) faithful fan, immediately assumed one of the never-fail-rally-positions (at least it worked when Greg Maddux pitched) and settled in for The Comeback.

To say the rest of the game was an emotional rollercoaster—understatement. When the open-net goal sealed the Rangers’ fate in the closing moments, I knew what had to happen.

Not only was I miserably disappointed, I’d inadvertently put the hex on a team that had done nothing to deserve it. The Rangers got through the season just fine with the fans they have—and they certainly don’t deserve the bad vibes brought by someone jumping on the bandwagon. Sincere apologies especially to Henrik Lundqvist… favorite player for a brief, yet unfortunate time.

So… effective immediately, I have no favorite team in these playoffs. I will watch and just enjoy whomever makes it to the Final vs. the LA Kings. Devils or Rangers—may the better team win.

Just in case Coach Tortorella sees this—please don’t take it out on the guys. The buck stops here. Over and done. Proceed as if I’d never joined the bandwagon.

I am no longer a New York Rangers’ fan. It’s for their own good. Seriously.

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