Yes, hockey is just a game.
In the grand makeup of the world as we know it, there are things that matter more.
A home taken by a tornado. A family member affected by a virus. A simple life that seemed so routine suddenly stripped away by circumstances out of our control.
With everything Nashvillians, Tennesseans and Predators fans all across the city, the state and the world have endured over the past four-plus months, where does sport factor in?
There are things the game of hockey can't solve - but there is so much more that it can do.
Because no matter our differences, when we enter Bridgestone Arena on a Saturday night, or tune our devices to a broadcast of our team playing our game, or put on our favorite jersey before heading out for the day, we're suddenly all united again. By Gold. By a logo. By one goal.
That's the Smashville way.
But things have changed a bit recently. That's why it's time for another avenue to bring us all together again.
"We thought: 'What's something we can really commit to that is bigger than ourselves?' It's bigger than the sacrifices that are going to be required to be a team that has an opportunity to win the Stanley Cup," Predators Head Coach John Hynes said. "One of the things we had talked about was the way our players and our team factor into the community. If you look at the tie in of the Nashville Predators with the Nashville community - the Smashville community - it's pretty impressive."
Video: Preds ask fans, community to unite For Smashville
The two words hold a lot of meaning: For Smashville.
A team playing for a city. A team playing for a fanbase. A team playing for anyone who will stand with them.
As the Predators return to the ice and begin preparations for a sixth-consecutive postseason run at Lord Stanley's Cup, they'll be doing it For Smashville.
Skating For Smashville. Training For Smashville. Competing For Smashville. And Winning For Smashville.
"Our players always talk about loving to live in Nashville and being part of the community," Hynes said. "If you look at what Nashville itself has gone through this year, all of these things have affected the community. But I just remember after the tornado hit, there's a roof off of someone's house but there's a Predators flag still there. You see how our players gave back to the community in the tornado, and then you look at what's going on with COVID-19 and people losing their jobs or restaurants and bars in the community, it's been a really difficult time. This is an opportunity for us to give Nashville something to rally around, to be able to watch, to support and be proud of, to take their minds off of things that may be going on in their lives."
And the For Smashville mantra isn't just a rallying point for the team. Hynes, General Manager David Poile and the entire Predators organization want you, the fans, to embrace it too - because we are all better when we come together.
We're encouraging our communities to gear up for the NHL's return to play, and the Give for Smashville initiative invites Smashvillians to make an impact by contributing in a number of different ways. Giving blood, giving food, giving your time or giving a monetary donation are all options, as we seek to rally our community and enhance the sense of pride that comes with supporting the Preds.
Of course, as with any Stanley Cup Playoff preparation, there will be ways to show your Preds Pride too. Over the coming weeks, leading up to the start of Nashville's first appearance in the Stanley Cup Qualifiers on Aug. 2, fans may stop by drive-thru Preds Pride Pickup events to receive complimentary playoff promotional items.
No matter how or what you choose to do For Smashville, do it for your family, your neighborhood, your community, your city.
And do it for your team. They're going to return the favor.
"It's something that we take a lot of pride in, and we're trying to win this for Nashville," Hynes said. "It's trying to win it and give the Nashville community something to rally around, to be proud of, to take your mind off of things and really show how important the Nashville community is to the Predators and to our players. We're playing for ourselves and for our families, but we're also playing for Smashville, and we want to Win For Smashville."
Yes, hockey is just a game. But in this town, with this team - and especially in these times - hockey is so much more.
Let's Win For Smashville.