“Playoffs? Don’t talk about playoffs! Are you kidding me? Playoffs? I’m just hoping we can win another game!” All of us sports fan remember Jim Mora’s iconic press conference rant following his Indianapolis Colts’ game against the San Francisco 49ers where Peyton Manning threw four interceptions. The Playoffs are the favorite time of year for sports fans. Possibly in no other experience as a fan can you go from the ecstasy of thinking your favorite team just scored the game-winning touchdown, goal, basket, or run to the total agony caused by crushing defeat in just a few moments. Regular season games are fun, but the reality of your season ending by one mistake, one lapse in concentration, one moment of not being at the peak of your game makes the Playoffs the ultimate thrill in the sports world.
Not only are the games so much more intense, but the facial hair gets so much better! Beards have swept the world and are so popular right now. In most major American sports, teams are known for growing a playoff beard. Football, hockey, and baseball teams are the most notorious, but other sports get in on this trend as well. Even though the playoff beard originated by hockey players playing in the Stanley Cup playoffs, the playoff beard is not limited just to the players; fans can also be a part of the fun! But you have to follow the rules of the playoff beard game!
You stop shaving when your team enters the playoffs.
Simple enough right? When the playoffs start, you stop shaving. You let that manly face fur grow to its full potential while your team is still in the playoffs. That means you don’t shave it because you get hot or it gets itchy. You keep it as long as your team is in the playoffs. You remain dedicated to your beard and your team until the end. There is no acceptable excuse for shaving your playoff beard. Not even a wedding, hot date, or job interview.
You can trim after a loss.
In sports where the playoffs are in series format, a player may trim his beard to change the luck of the team after a loss. Sports teams and players are notoriously superstitious: from sticking to eating the same thing before a game to having the same trainer tape their ankles, athletes are known for sticking to what works. After a loss in a series style playoff, the players may trim their beards to try to change the luck of the team and ultimately win the series.
You shave when your team is eliminated or wins the championship.
This is a daunting reality. You only get to shave when you have one of two outcomes: you win it all, or you lose. If your team loses out, you must shave your beard immediately. That night. No waiting around reminiscing about how awesome your beard is. If you wanted to keep it, you should have kept on winning.
If you cannot grow a beard, but one of your good friends can who is also a fan, you are required to try to get him to grow a playoff beard.
Some of us are just not able to grow a good beard, and bad beards bring the beard karma down, so for those of you who can’t grow a good one, don’t. We are superstitious about our playoff beards here and don’t want you screwing up our chances with your crappy beard. But if your friend can grow a beard, by all means, do everything possible to get him to grow a playoff beard.
After a win, you do nothing to the beard.
That’s right, after a win, you don’t trim it, shave it, anything, except thank the beard for its blessing on your team. Continue to ask the beard for wisdom as your team progresses through the playoffs.
Make sure the losers shave.
If you know someone who grew a beard, you have two responsibilities to them and the rest of the playoff beard community. First, you make sure that the loser shaves his beard and does not jump on the bandwagon of another team. If you grow a playoff beard, you lose the beard when you lose. Second, you are obligated to make snide remarks to the poor soul that loses his beard. Call him a baby face or whatever other names you can come up with for the remainder of the playoffs. You can also send him postcards, texts, emails, and haze him on social media.
If you have gray in your beard, you’re not allowed to color it.
Many people look at gray in beards as a sign of age. I prefer to look at it as a measure of experience. This isn’t your first playoff beard, and the gray is a testament to the journeys through the torrential landscape of the playoffs in the past.
So what do you think? Do you have any additions to the playoff beard rule set? Which one of these rules is your favorite? Do you know someone who needs to lose the beard because he is out? Get to the enforcement of the rules! You have to abide by the rules if you’re going to play the game.
May the scoresheet be ever in your favor my friends.