I was sort of at a loss for what to write this week. I’m waiting on a particular book to arrive at my local Barnes and Noble (and that’ll take awhile to read) and this week has been lack of Flyers hockey, so there wasn’t a whole lot of inspiration to be found. I asked my Flyers BFF, Pam, if she had any ideas. She tossed a couple my way including all the fuss about the Tampa Bay Lightning trap and I read quite a few articles on why the trap is what it is and how it makes for boring hockey, etc and so on. My brain might be a little fried now.
One suggestion she made was writing about my favorite Flyers moment/goal/etc. I haven’t even been a fan of hockey or Flyers for two years yet (end of February 2012), so I don’t have as large a vault of memories that others might have. What to choose?
There was the game I caught when the Flyers played the Rangers and a small shootout got them into the playoffs. I had no clue how important that game was, just that I’d been lucky to find it on some illegal stream online and then Pam texting me the epic-ness of it all. I’ve rewatched it since and I still feel nervous before the shootout and joyously cheerful when Brian Boucher does his little triumphant dance.
There was the time I went to a bar to watch a game and it was Game seven of Flyers vs. Bruins and they went down 0 – 3 and I was so horribly worried and my two Blackhawks guy friends were mocking me as I sipped cheap beer. And then to watch them come back was incredible and well worth shoving in the faces of my friends.
My first live NHL game was in Philadelphia with Pam and Flyers beat Toronto. The day before, we’d gone to a practice and there they were: the Flyers, the names and numbers I knew so well even after being a fan for seven months (three of those being off-season). I got to watch them do their drills and just have a good time doing what they do so well.
I witnessed Shelley’s goal as a Flyer against the Thrashers in January 2011. That game also had a Giroux goal and I saw it all live, right after my birthday. I saw three live Flyers games last season, each one awesome in its own way. Even when the Flyers lost.
There was the beginning of last season when the Flyers seemed unstoppable. Everything was possible. Claude Giroux got three shorthanded goals within the first two months. It was the year, so we all thought.
There have been some amazing goals, some incredible stops (I adore watching Bobrovsky play), and some kick-ass fights and hits. And along with it, came a mess of frustration, anger and sadness when things didn’t turn out the way I was so desperately hoping.
But the moment that sticks out in my mind doesn’t really fall under any of that.
A moment to explain something about me: I can be inordinately focused. My friends might call it obsessive. I call it passionate. When I find something I like, I dive headfirst. I did with Star Wars back in high school and writing in college. The list could go on.
I have a dear friend that I met on the move-in day of college when we were freshman. She’s from Ipswich, Mass and I was her Maid of Honor a few years later when she got married. She has four kids now and they are all beautiful, wonderful little persons. She knows me very well.
Being from Boston-area, she knows the Bruins, although she is more of a New England Patriots fan. When I got into hockey, she teased me a lot about it. Mostly because I was constantly tweeting, Facebook posting and Google buzzing about it. Constantly, even during playoffs. It drove me nuts. She was questioning my loyalty and passion. One day, after another remark, I asked if she was going to keep doing this. She replied that if I was still into hockey and the Flyers by next season (meaning I survive through the off-season), she’d leave me alone. Probably shouldn’t give me a challenge like that.
But her point was valid. I’ve liked things intensely for a short time and it’s burned out. Pro-cycling was one that maybe lasted a year, if that. She had good reason to be skeptical of my dedication.
New season finally arrived and there was a snarky comment from her on one of my posts and I called her on it. New season, still a fan. She backed down.
Now, it’s another season and I’m still here; writing, watching, worrying, whooping, and wondering if the Flyers will be the team everyone else talks about because they are competitors and damn talented.
So my moment didn’t involve a single Flyer or game or fan/player interaction. It was simply the moment I knew my loyalty had been tested and I’d triumphed.