Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Introduction to the Blog

I guess I should start by telling the world a little bit about myself, in relation to hockey and why I'm back in the game. I grew up in Nova Scotia (which does not disqualify me from being an all-around Sindey Crosby-eye roller. More on that later.). I moved to rural Southern Virginia against my will (parents) at ten. Life was hard for a foreigner in a county not many people leave, let alone move to. I did my best to fit in; dropped the accent and picked up a Southern one, stopped watching hockey (as if we got games on TV as it is), even played softball for a season (which I am unequivocally awful at). My eighth grade year, a kid moved to our county from up north (Indiana, Pennsylvania, somewhere) and bless me, he was a hockey fan. Not die-hard, but he knew the game.
I started watching hockey again my junior year of high school, trying to keep up with the teams, etc. I rooted for Carolina because they were close. (Let me just explain briefly that I was the worst bandwagon-jumper you've ever known, in all sports, all seasons, until this one. I'd barely pay attention to the season but would pick a team every year in the finals, follow them until they got knocked off and pick somebody else. I had no loyalty whatsoever) I cheered for Calgary to win that year because Tampa beat out the Canes (if I remember correctly). (bad choice) Senior year--lockout. Damn you!
My freshman year of college, I moved to within a few hours of DC, although I was still a Canes fan. I won five dollars off my brother that year because I said the Canes would go all the way, although in my heart, I kind of wanted the Oilers to win because they're a Canadian team. 2006-2007 season I didn't really follow the season (life got in the way), but come play-offs, I was gunning for the Senators (Canadian team).

I had never actually been to a hockey game (aside from the Junior A games as a kid) before this year. A good friend and I decided to take advantage of the Student Rush nights that the Capitals offered and went to a game with my older brother--December 20th. Habs @ Caps. Final score? Habs-5, Caps-2. (Ironically enough, Huet was in net for the Habs and getting heckled by the folks in the seats around us (which were in the lower bowl, attendence was that low)). The Caps lost, but I was hooked. After that, every game, I was in front of my friend's big screen TV (or on my laptop hitting refresh every five seconds) or at work cursing my luck and praying TiVo was working.
So far this season, I have taken off work to watch a game. I told a professor that I had to leave class for an appointment in DC just to get to the box office in time to get a ticket (hey, an important appointment in my book). I've bitten my fingernails off, come very close to several aneurysms and heart-attacks, gone to what passes for a honky-tonk in my jersey after a big win(which earns me hard stares everytime), nearly burned my jersey (it's bad luck for me to wear it during a game, but that's a bit extreme), had tears form (once), and yelled at someone who told me the score when I was at work with the game being TiVo'd back home (the Minnesota game we won 4-1). I've scared the dog, probably scared my friends, and I'm still looking for someone in this town who knows the game well and will dissect each and every game with me and teach me a few more things about the game (my friends are great, but just kind of nod along like I do when they're talking about basketball or baseball).
Longtime Caps fans may accuse me of being a bandwagon-jumper. (Hey, I admitted to being one at one point and I did technically start watching after they put Boudreau behind the bench, which has been a big part of the upturn in their game from what I've heard) But this is something different. For the first time, I actually own a jersey for a team I actually care about (sorry Aunt Mary, but the Canucks jersey doesn't count), not that I can wear it during the game. I'm watching the regular season (helps to have CSN) with the attitude that even if we don't go all the way, there's always next year (with the same team). The Caps have a great, young, talented team. Sure I might groan about dumb plays during the game, but that's what youth is for (I should know, I'm the OV of being young and stupid). I have every faith that each season will only get better. I have complete faith that, one day, OV will raise the Cup above his head in DC. Would I like it to be this season? Of course. But whether its this season, or the one after, etc., it will happen. Because those awful "rebuilding years" longtime Caps fans joke about are going to pay-off. They can do it, and when they do, their newest fan will be right there screaming at her TV, or if luck is with me, in the stands screaming.

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