Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Whoa, double feature!

Sooooo the excuse I'm using for my lack of writing is that my laptop was out of commission for about 3 weeks. I hadn't even touched it really because one day it shut off and wouldn't turn back on. I figured I would wait until I got my next paycheck, take it to the Geek Squad and say "Hey! Boy! Make this work again!"

So on Sunday morning I actually took it over there and, of course, it instantly turned on. The Geek looked at me like I was a moron. I sheepishly took my laptop home and it has worked ever since. Then I found $5.

So I'm far too tired to research and write something real right now. Plus there's no NHL so I have nothing new to say so I decided to talk about Herm 2 Hockeytown. Now, with the money that I saved by not having to fix or replace my laptop, I took that money and purchased tickets to H2H for myself, Schmegan and SB. (I also bought a fancy H2H shirt that I'm ecstatic about!)

The majority of people reading this are probably going to know what I'm talking about but for the 5% of you that don't. Here's the deal: Herm is a Red Wings fan and hockey blogger who has never seen a live hockey game. I know, what? Really. That's because he lives in Brazil. Freakin' South America! Do you know how far away that is from here? Really effing far. Oh yeah, and apparently he's never even met another hockey fan. So the plan is to bring Herm to Hockeytown to meet many hockey fans all at once! It's genius, I tell you!

So money is being collected to bring him to the game on March 26th. Since we already have enough money for Herm, all proceeds above and beyond his expenses are donated to the Children's Hospital of Michigan. So seriously, even if you don't support Red Wings fandom, you should at least support helping sick kids.

If you're interested, everything you need to know is found here: Herm 2 Hockeytown. I'm pretty much overwhelmed at how much fun we're going to have that night. I have been to hundreds of NHL games. I was a season ticket holder through the 2008 Stanley Cup season and I can honestly say this is second most excited I've ever been for a hockey game in my life. (Second most? Yes. I was unbelievably and uncontrollably excited for the Stanley Cup Finals Game 5 in 2008. Hmmmmmmm, I'm thinking I should tell this story...)

So this is the story of how I almost quit loving hockey. Lower bowl season tickets. My family put in for 4 season tickets in 1996 and forgot about it. The waiting list was so long and it was just never a thought. One day, in 2004, I checked the mail and received a letter from the Red Wings. It was stating that we were to attend magical seat choosing day. I FLIPPED OUT. Long story short, we somehow got lower bowl season tickets in our first year as ticket holders. (Thank you, lockout!) So I've seen my fair share of Wings games and I'm always excited but that 2008 team made me so nervous and excited at the same time that I couldn't stand it.

So it's Game 5. I know that the Cup is in the building. I know it's somewhere downstairs in a room being shined up. It's the third period and I'm terrified but confident at the same time. I'm thinking, "This is it. I'm here. I'm about to see the Stanley Cup presented to Mr. Nick in person. OH MY GOD." Suddenly I hear the call that it's the last minute of play. We're all standing up and just dying of anticipation. I look up above me and I see tons of people on the catwalks by the ceiling. They have garbage bags full of confetti! A real celebration is about to begin and I'm going to be a part of it! A brown-haired man situates himself right over me on the catwalk and as I'm preparing for my glitter confetti bath... FUCKING MAX TALBOT.

I sat down and I cried a little. Just a little. So the game continues... and continues... and continues. Marc-Andre Fleury did have a phenomenal game and I will never forgive him for that. I teared up during each intermission. My stomach was in knots. People were pacing around and no one knew what to do. Triple overtime. Jiri Hudler gets called on a DOUBLE MINOR penalty. Then I knew it was over. Sykora scores. BAM.

It takes about an hour and 15 minutes to get from Joe Louis Arena to my driveway so it was damn near 3am when I got home. I just sulked and moped around. The next morning I woke up and hoped that it wasn't real, that it was all a bad dream. That's when I got some snacks and I holed up in the basement, the only place in the house with a VCR. First, I watched the 1997 Game 4 tape against the Flyers. I smiled at Shanny and Stevie and I cried when they won. I even found my box of old newspaper clippings and old hockey posters and looked through them. But I wasn't any happier because I had convinced myself that this 2008 team WAS NOT and COULD NOT BE that special 1997 team.

So then I popped in the Return to Hockeytown: 1997-1998 Championship video. I cried about Vladdy. I laughed at Ron Wilson talking about "Hombla-chay-a-pee" or whatever the hell he was talking about. ("It's a good day to die." No, Ron, it was a good day to lose. Is it sad that I've watched that tape so many times that I almost have his entire speech memorized?) But then I got sad again because I was thinking about how the 1998 team was also very special and had a real reason to prove something.

By this time, my best friend Zeus had come over to try to drag me out into the sunshine. Instead, I enticed him to join me in the basement and mope because not only did I have hockey tapes, but I also had snack mix. No one can resist snack mix. So next I put in the tape of Wayne Gretzky's last game. What does that have to do with the Red Wings? Absolutely nothing except I was already being all emotional and dramatic and that's always the best time to watch a little 99 montage accompanied by Sarah McLachlan music, right? I sat and tried to explain to Zeus why this was a big deal but he was still learning about hockey at the time so he didn't fully appreciate it.

The next video was the Red Alert : Hockeytown 3 : 2002 Stanley Cup tape. I just love this one because it's literally a collection of the greatest players of the modern era all on one team. I don't think they were appreciated enough at the time but that team is the most stacked team in history and will continue to be because we are now in the salary cap era. My point being that by this time, I had been locked in the basement for over 7 hours and was still dreading my next decision: Do I attend JoeVision to watch Game 6 or was I just done? Could I handle it? Honestly, I realize that my 2 day depression might sound a little crazy but I just didn't think I could handle them losing that series.

I looked at 1997 and saw a team with a 42 year old monkey on their back. I looked at 1998 and saw a team playing for a fallen teammate. I looked at 2002 and saw so many players going for one last hurrah toward the end of their monumental careers. I could no longer see the great things about 2008. I couldn't see the story of Dallas Drake. I couldn't see the resurgence of "Playoff Ozzie". I couldn't see the return of DMac.

All I saw was a man on a catwalk with a bag of glitter, his disappointed face, and him walking away. That's it.

Eventually, Zeus did talk me into driving up to JLA for Game 6. We went. We had a fantastic time. Everyone knows how the story ends. But that, my friends, is the story of how I almost quit loving hockey. They broke my heart and won me back all in under 48 hours and I'll never ever forget that.

1- What's the closest you've come to quitting? How frustrated have you been? What'd you do?
2- Every season has a story. What's the story of 2009-10? (And don't say injuries. I hate the injuries. I'm saying if the Wings make the Finals, why? How? What makes them special this year?)
3- Didja donate to H2H yet? See, I distracted you with that story but don't think I forgot!

1 comment:

  1. Closest I've ever come to quitting was when a favorite player of mine was traded away. The next game I attended, the building felt empty and I couldn't make myself enjoy being there. I really thought about never going back.