What is it like to raise the Cup? Ask the Red Sox

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By WEEI 93.7

NEW YORK -- The montages will be everywhere for the next week or so. Images of the ultimate for NHL and NBA players alike. The looks on their faces while lifting the Stanley Cup or the Larry O'Brien Championship Trophy.

Zdeno Chara holdig up hockey's ultimate prize while seemingly coming out of his 6 feet and nine inches of skin. Michael Jordan embracing the piece of metal while sobbing uncontrollably. They are examples of emotion that aren't unusual to witness at the end of a long season, but ultimately hard to truly understand.

Just ask those who have actually experienced it.

"Two words," noted Red Sox ace Chris Sale when asked about the feeling, "(expletive) awesome!"

"I would have never been able to imagine what that felt like prior to experiencing it," explained Red Sox pitcher Rick Porcello of his championship trophy moment.

"I was in such shock," added last year's World Series MVP Steve Pearce. "Literally your whole career came down to this moment. You wonder if it was all worth it … Yup."

As followers of sports teams -- particularly in Boston -- we like to think there is a comprehension of what such an end-game entails. But we don't. 

The routine after winning these things are predictable, with the champagne and the cigars. But within the chaos that the Bruins hope they will soon experiencing there is that somewhat unexplainable moment. That bolt of emotion is a moment only those who touch the trophy can fully grasp.

"That trophy symbolizes so many different things," Porcello said. "At least for me, I just felt it all coming through that piece of metal. Different things you go through over the course of a season or throughout your career. The ups and downs and experiences with the guys in that room. You have emotions. You’re exhausted from a long season, but excited as you’ve ever been. It’s all these different things that are just getting mixed together at one moment. It’s an incredible feeling. 

"You don’t quite get it, I guess. You don’t know what it means to them, that process that they went to get there. The different paths, different directions."

For a player like Pearce, who bounced around from team to team throughout a 12-year big league career, there was little to go on. Just guesses. Up until that moment on the Dodger Stadium field last October his best guide for what that trophy-hoisting punctuation might mean came from former Patriots running back Antowain Smith high-stepping across the field after Adam Vinatieri's game-winning field goal in Super Bowl XXXVI.

Seventeen years later, Pearce was guy on the podium. He finally knew what that wide-eyed Tom Brady felt.

"It exceeds every thought you ever have," Pearce said. "It’s your goal. It’s your dream. When it actually happens … You go back and look at the video. The smile, it’s ear to ear.

"I never had a feeling like that. You pop the champagne bottles when you win the CS (Championship Series) or the DC (Division Series) or when you go to the playoffs … Your heart is racing. I remember seeing Sale pitching and thinking, ‘This is about to happen. The 30 years of my life that has led up to this moment is about to happen. You’re seeing the schoolboy come out of everyone. We’re all laughing and smiling. This is what it’s all about."

Some of these Bruins playing in the Stanely Cup Final understand what might await, having lived through raising the Cup in 2011. But those who haven't gone through it should expect a valid explanation of what awaits.

"I was surprised," Porcello admitted. "You chase so many things down and you accomplish things and they’re great in their way. But it’s not everything you think it’s going to be. Winning a championship is more than you think it’s going to be. That’s the first time that ever happened."