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When I became a real fan
July 16, 2010 - John Stack
Well, finally all the hoopla is over. The tournament with the best 16 teams is through. We’ve suffered through unruly fans, loud noisemakers, atrocious officiating at inexplicable times. My
What a season it was to be a Canadians fan. They get in on the last day of the season. A backup goalie (Halak) leads them to the doorstep of the promised land. A promising youngster makes his presence felt (PK Subban). But it wasn’t just about hockey. It was much more than that. My good friend Chev likes to recall what it really means. Last year, he was having a mild argument with his wife, and she claimed he was ’addicted to hockey’ –as if this was a bad thing!
The playoffs started with Chev and I trading places of which to watch the games – my place or his. When not together, we would rant at each other on the phone during intermission. Heck just watching Don Cherry on Hockey Night in
But, it wasn’t just here. I was at camp down in Minerva, with no way to watch TV. The only place for 10 miles is Sporty’s bar. This is a Biker bar with Sporty as the owner/bartender (and 2009 Citizen of the Year in Minerva). It was an afternoon game against the Penguins. I went over with my two 12 year olds, hoping to convince Sporty to let me watch the game. He wasn’t there, and there was a bartender I didn’t know. But, with sports on 2 other TVs, she said we could watch it. The other guys at the bar helped her find the right channel and away we went. After the first period, I realized that prior to the game, no one was even looking at the TVs. Now, a majority were following the game. I knoew no one other than my boys there. But, at one point, a shot just barely missed going in. Instinctively, I winced, holding my thumb and forefinger together to show how close the shot was to my kids. I look over to my right, and a guy is looking at me – doing the exact same thing! The true universal symbolism of sports and comraderie.In the second period, a group of 3 or 4 guys show up on crotch rockets, with blue, red and white leather. (It may be a biker bar, but Sporty doesn’t discriminate). One guys sits with me at a table next to the bar. Turns out, of course, he’s from
I thank my wife (and Chevs wife and James’s wife) for allowing me way too much time to just watch hockey for those 6 weeks (honestly, after the Habs were eliminated I didn’t have as much of an excuse to go over and drink beer with Chev). I thought it was a great time and we definitely had fun with neighbors who we don’t see as much as we would like. But it was more. Canadians hockey is more than a typical North American sports team. Watch ‘Fever Pitch’ about a fan’s obsession with the Red Sox and you may understand. For game 7 against the Penguins, I was thinking of heading up to
So, I can’t wait for the season to start again. Halak is gone, Price is unsigned but PK will be up for a full season. Heck, with this heat, I can’t wait to just lace up my Vapors and get on the ice where I’ll again disdain any reference to playing defense and continue to sharpen my skills as an offense oriented shooter while Chev grinds behind the net to set me up for a breakaway.
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