Posted on July 30, 2013
My Crappy Hockey Fan Creation Timing
Alli is my best friend. She has been my best friend for over 5 years now, and if we haven’t given up on each other yet we probably never will. We have a lot of things in common–general nerdiness; specific Harry Potter nerdiness; the obnoxious need to write–and we also have things not in common–I’m gay, she’s straight; I’m north, she’s south; I’m hugely into sports, she’s not.
Well, she wasn’t.
In the greatest coup of my life, in the spring of 2012 I got my best friend to not only get interested in hockey, but to become a Rangers fan to boot. And considering she lives in Orlando and could have easily become a primarily Lightning fan, I think this says a lot for the both of us. I mean, I’m clearly persuasive and I make good arguments*, and she’s intelligent enough to want to get her heart crushed by the best!
*My arguments may have mostly been sharing pictures of Henrik Lundqvist. I dare you to tell me that’s not persuasive, though.
So kudos to me, right? I get to talk to my best friend about something that brings me great joy that I’ve never really gotten to talk about with my closest friends before. (A once-best friend was a Yankees fan with me and loved baseball, but we never really made it a thing between us.) We both found things in hockey that we needed in our lives. What could possibly go wrong?!
Well. Obviously it started with a lockout. (No, actually, it really started with one of our favorite players signing with Montreal as a UFA. But I digress.) So right off the bat our joy got messed with, because we had made plans for her to come up in December to go see a game (the game where said favorite would return to MSG, so maybe that wasn’t such a tangent after all!)–and while the trip was still lots of fun, there was no hockey. Thankfully we still had a season, but we saw games separately, not together. And she missed out on an All-Star Game and the shenanigans of that weekend! I love ASG weekends, I love the skills competition, and shut up if you think it’s hokey and lame.
Which brings me to the next big of joy-sucking: Even though we get a full season this year (and a second chance on a game together), we still won’t get an All-Star Game! Because of the Olympics in February, and because the NHL players can participate for their countries, that 3-week break means no weekend break in late January. And sure, getting an Olympics so soon into her hockey-loving life is pretty nice. It’s gonna be a great time, and go USA, Cally for Captain, all that.
But it’s no All-Star Game. It’s no time to chill out and truly appreciate the skilled players from around the league (unless they’re playing for your country). So I’m bummed for her, that she’ll have to wait for January 2015 before she gets to experience one. (I believe it’ll still be in #LUMBUS, though, as they were supposed to host it last year? That’ll be fun now that they’re in the East.)
I guess I’m a little sad for myself, too, because while I did watch the 2012 ASG festivities, I wasn’t really following my team very closely at that point, and I knew almost nothing about the rest of the league. It wasn’t until You Can Play started, with King Henrik’s beautiful face standing up for gay athletes (along with Brian Boyle and then-Ranger Brandon Prust), that I really started to pay attention, and as our team hit the playoffs and I started dragging Alli down with me…well, since then, it’s been all hockey, all the time.
But I wish I could go back to at least the start of the 2011-2012 season and be a huge fan from that day. Bring Alli in about six months earlier so she could have watched the Winter Classic with me, watched the ASG and laugh as Gaborik scored 3 goals on Hank in one period. I wish we had more time to appreciate Prusty as a Ranger! I’ve got the NHL Vault so I can watch all these old games, but it’s not quite the same.
Oh well. I may have crappy timing in bringing a friend into the fold, or getting into the fold myself, but all that matters is that we’re here. We made it. And we’re making the most of our time as hockey fans, learning ridiculous, adorable things about our team, enjoying a team we actually give some damn about winning the Stanley Cup over a team we quite dislike, making friends on Twitter and planning more trips to see our boys. We get a full season this year, a new coach, the Olympics, and even if we’re missing out on the All-Star Game, we’ve got plenty to excite us with six weeks to training camp.
Let’s go Rangers!