What it means to be a Kings fan

I've been sitting out on my deck for the last two hours, sipping a glass of wine, thinking about what it means to be a Kings fan.

You see, this article in the LA Times about long-time fans stirred up a whole lot of feelings in me.

Patko, a 42-year-old homemaker in Anaheim, sat with her father at the 1982 Miracle on Manchester, when the Kings overcame a five-goal deficit in the first round of the playoffs to defeat the heavily favored Edmonton Oilers in one of the greatest comebacks in NHL history.

"My dad never got to experience the L.A. Kings hockey life that I have," she said.

If the Kings win the cup, she will visit his grave site, recount the Kings' conquest and have "a moment with him," Patko said. "To follow a team for this long without any hopes for success, you just have to keep believing."

Each fan's story is different. And yet they all hit me right here.

Here we are on the eve of the Stanley Cup Finals, and do we revel in it? Well...not exactly. Even as we watch with joy.

Nobody is overconfident.

Nobody feels like this is real.

Nobody knows what rooting for a successful team is supposed to feel like. Even in '93, with Wayne freaking Gretzky, the Kings were the upstarts. We're the team of permanent underdogs. Chalk it up to 45 years of conditioning.

And now? Your Los Angeles Kings have only lost two games so far in the postseason. Things turn out for the best when we expect the worst. We don't know how to get our bearings.

Objective stats tell us that the Kings are a strong possession team with excellent goaltending. When's the last time any of us could expect that?

I understand why doubt lurks around every corner. But maybe it's time to raise a glass and appreciate what they have going here -- even if we never look to far ahead.

When did you get your start as a Kings fan? Tell me.