One of the things I remember most about being a kid is the Bulls dynasty. I never remember living in a house where we all had to shut up because “the game” was on. No one has their stories to watch. I actually don’t remember much being on the television that wasn’t the news or 60 Minutes. What I do remember though, is watching the Bulls. A lot. Often. We watched the Bulls games. All of them, probably. I don’t remember. I remember my mom being the loud one screaming. I remember that we were fans of the game as well as fans of the Bulls. We appreciated a well fought for victory and understood that it was okay to lose.
There’s something about that time. We were winners. We were a dynasty. We were the best. One of the best things though, always, was the feeling of being part of something with my family. Spending that time with my mom and dad was what made it so special. It was special. It was exciting. It was important. I know it was just sports, but it felt like something bigger. I can’t explain that. It might be a feeling that you get when you (a) spend a ton of time with your parents watching sports and (b) subsequently decide to be obsessed with sports ultimately landing myself in a career full of sports. Which, I opted out of, but that is kind of a different story for another day.
That’ll be fun… won’t it? I’ll spend a blog post or two on how I got into sports and how I got out of it.
Anyhow, as you may or may not know – but you probably know, whether or not you care – that the Chicago Blackhawks won their 3rd Stanley Cup in 6 years on Monday night. It was amazing. It doesn’t matter how many hockey games I’ve gone to or how many I’ve watched. It’s always exciting. It always feels incredible. It always feels like it’s the first time. I mean, I used to go to games when it was $7 to get a ticket. And I watched games. All the time. This reference is, I’m certain, lost on most people, but they were worse than the Panthers had ever been.
So for game 6, with the chance of another Stanley Cup on the line, I decided to head out to the closest Chicago bar with a couple of friends in tow and watch my boys try to take down the Tampa Bay Lightning. It had all the aspects of an amazing time – vodka lemonades, shots, friends, food, HOCKEY, and what seemed to be a great vibe. But one thing was missing.
And I’m a mushball as I type this, but I missed watching something this important with my family. This was precisely the kind of event that would have brought my mom and dad to speak at a decibel level too high to record and found me jumping up and down at things that I thought seemed good before I knew the rules of the game. I’d be asking a thousand questions about hooking or icing or any of the other things about which the smaller version of me – the one before the career in athletics – would have been asking.
So as excited and happy as I was to be watching my team do what my team tends to do these days, it felt a little hollow.
I was sipping away at my drink, eating some smoked fish dip watching the boys line up for puck drop (and I’m with Christa on this one, it should absolutely be called puck off) when my phone rang.
My daddy called to let me know they were watching the game, too. It warmed my heart in the cliche-est of ways. I smiled huge. I may have teared up. I ignored the fact that I was in a crowded and very loud bar to take a few minutes to talk to my parents on the phone. We joked around about the game, made some predictions and then my dad poked fun at me by suggesting I not hold any glassware while at the bar.
Which only makes sense if you know that the last time I watched a game 6 in a bar, I got angry about something and flung my arm toward to television, completely forgetting that I had a beer pint in my hand. It went flying, shattered, beer went everywhere, and I was asked to leave. Yes, I AM that fan.
Throughout the game we called and discussed a shot on goal or two and they called once to ask me about a rule/penalty thing – which I was wrong about, but I tried – and it made the entire game that much better.
Sometimes sports is just about being a fan.
Sometimes it’s about watching something you love to play.
Sometimes it’s about fantasizing having the skill level of the players.
Sometimes it’s just background noise for when you’re writing a term paper.
But sometimes, just sometimes, it can be about something more.
Thank you Chicago Blackhawks for bringing me back to my childhood and to the wonderment that was the Repeat Threepeat of the Chicago Bulls.