If all goes well in Hershey tonight, my son and I will be able to get our hair cut.
The serious sports fan - the one who's just a little bit crazy about a team, like I am about Hershey Bears hockey - will know how to decode that sentence in two words: playoff superstition.
The past four seasons - even last year's somewhat less than thrilling year - have been sweeter than the chocolate that made Hershey famous, but this year's Bears are on the verge of doing something that hasn't happened in 29 years.
With a win tonight, Hershey wins an unprecedented 10th Calder Cup championship. At home.
We saw the Bears win just three years ago, but we had to watch it on a computer screen, or for those lucky enough, on the big screen at Giant Center. That title - which tied the old Cleveland Barons for nine as a franchise - came at Milwaukee's Bradley Center.
A decade before that, the year Hershey became an affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche, Hamilton, Ontario's Copps Coliseum was the building where the Bears won it, under future (and now former) NHL coach Bob Hartley. Coincidentally, exactly 10 years later, Hamilton tossed Hershey by the same 4-1 margin as the Bears earned consecutive trips to the finals (told you it was a good four years!).
In 1988, the Bears again were north of the border, ending a 12-0 run through the playoffs that may never be matched again. You have to go back to 1980 and the New Brunswick Hawks - oddly enough, led in scoring by Bruce Boudreau - for Hershey's last home-ice championship. Boudreau, of course, led Hershey to its last title, and moved up to the parent Washington Capitals.
The haircut thing started with the Caps affiliation. I just did it on a whim - the players were growing playoff beards, but I have one of them year-round. Some were getting Mohawk haircuts, but that's a little nuttier than me.
So I just let it grow. And grow. Our former managing editor, Heather Henline, actually was disappointed when I chopped it all off - but she didn't have to cover baseball games under her long hair. A year later, I started to include the little one, much to the chagrin of my wife. It's as if she never heard that Samson and Delilah story.
So we're one win - or three losses - away from the barber chair.
I'd like to say, grab a ticket and meet us at the game tonight - but that's not going to happen. The fan interest, especially after the Bears won a pair against western champ Manitoba this weekend, has ticket prices reaching unheard of levels through eBay, Craig's List and various fan forums. And no wonder - even if the Bears have to go back to Winnipeg, this is a special team.
Several records have gone by the wayside this year, including a 22-year-old league scoring record set by none other than Brett Hull in his only AHL season. The player who did that - Alexandre Giroux - won the regular-season MVP award, and is first in line to claim the same honor in the postseason. That's been done only once before (last year, by Jason Krog, who coincidentally moved from Chicago to western Canada this season, and opposes the Bears in the finals).
This is the third time in four years that Hershey is in the finals, the fifth straight year a Pennsylvania team is among the last two standing (Philadelphia won it in 2004-05; Wilkes-Barre/Scranton was outdueled a year ago) and it could well be the first Calder Cup hoisted in Hershey since the Giant Center opened.
Last season, the NHL Network had a marvelous self-promotional spot featuring a number of famous players rattling off records that are waiting to be broken, each asking the same question we are in Hershey this spring:
Is this the year?
Jeff Fishbein is sports editor of The Sentinel. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.