Friday, January 20, 2006

The wolf in sheep's clothing.

I sold a part of my soul last night. I sold a part of my NHL soul.

A large part. I'm talking close to a treasonous action.

Last night was my big night out with my friend S. We have been looking forward to this day for months- the day we would sit in row 2 at a Blackhawks game.

I arranged to sell part of my sou- I mean, borrow a Hawks jersey from a friend of mine. I was getting ready later on and walked past my roommate's door. She jumped when I did so- because she never expected to see me in a Hawks jersey. "That's so wrong," she said.

"If you would have told me 10 years ago, no scratch that, 20 years ago that I'd be wearing a Blackhawks jersey willingly, and not as a trophy after beating up some Blackhawks fan, I would laugh at you until you cried."

You see, friends and neighbors, I grew up with hockey. Not playing it, mind you, as I have no skating skills, but watching, studying, and loving hockey. My first ever game was a Waterloo Siskins game, back in the heady days of 1976. I have been sold since then.

After living in Canada, we moved to St. Paul, and my dad and I became North Stars fans. I loved to watch them play. Even after I discovered girls, I could still quote stats and rosters and the like. Then, the worst thing that could happen happened. Our team, the team I loved, the team I worshipped, the team that made my life worth living, announced it was moving to Dallas.

The owner, at the time, was one Mr. Norm Green, one of the most hated men in Minnesota history. I was one of those fans who carried around signs that said Norm Green Sucks, chanting the same, and frequently more explicit things at games. My young mind was so full of hate for him- and still is today.

What can I say? I hold a grudge- a chip on my shoulder the size of the Met Center. My hatred didn't stop there, either. It expanded. I grew to hate the NHL. After the final call of the final game (which I have on tape at home), I began a boycott of NHL games that would last almost 8 years. Fortunately for me, I discovered something I liked a little better than the NHL- minor league hockey, and when I moved back to Chicago, I found the Chicago Wolves. I finally started caring about the NHL again in 2000, when my dreams came true, and the Minnesota Wild played their first game.

Back to the story at hand- I toed the line last night. I donned a black jersey, black shorts, and my favorite black Wolves cap- the one that is so old it is actually falling apart- and sat in section 112, row 2, seat 17. We checked out our seats, then headed to get our first round of beer- the first round of many, and went back to our seats. There was still plenty of time before the game, so the organist was playing various songs. Finally, Frank needed a break or something like that, and the classic Stompin' Tom Connors Hockey Song came on. I started singing along, bopping my head with the beat, and egged on S to do the same, which he did.

Not more than 15 seconds later, our bopping bald heads were on the gazillion-inch tv on the scoreboard. We looked stately. We looked mature. I raised my glass and admired my chin. I never knew how much I liked it until last night. Enough of my vanity? Ok.

It was a good game, a fun game. The kind of game that Sass would have enjoyed. Tommy Hawk came by to talk with the kids sitting the row behind us, and rubbed my head as he walked by.

I wish I had taken a picture.

One of the linesmen was a gargantuan man- at least 6'6" without skates on. He towered over everyone- players, everyone. Not by a little, either.

I got his picture.

The Hawks wound up winning the game, 4-2, and I won two dollars worth of bets off my friend. One for correctly predicting an Avalanche power play goal, and one for the Zamboni race. I'm very good at predicting these things- just a part of my Jedi skills.

We headed back to our neighborhood after the game. I stopped by the Globe to say hi to some folks and have a pint before I went to bed, even they were surprised to see my in a Hawks sweater, so I took pictures with them for fun and posterity.

I doubt that I will ever wear such a sweater again. I'm sure I have a reader or two who is still asking the question "why did you wear it in the first place?" Well, my friend, I absolutely hate the Colorado Avalanche. Not quite as much as the Dallas Stars, but they're definitely up there.

That is how and why I sold a little piece of my soul.


Blogger Postmodern Sass said...

Avalanche, schmavalanche. They'll always be the fucking Nordicks to me.

11:35 AM  
Blogger Henry said...

You gave money to "Dollar" Bill Wirtz? For shame! The Blackhawks were my favorite team, but I won't spend a dime on them as long as that drunkard owns them.

Now my neck hurts from shaking it back and forth.

Long Live the Whale!

1:12 PM  

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