xlovebecomesher: (Washington Capitals)
[personal profile] xlovebecomesher
"Canadians suck!" My friend Lelia screamed as Bryan McCabe sat down in the penalty box. It was my first ever live hockey game - the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Washington Capitals.  We had front row seats at the Verizon Center behind the penalty box courtesy of her father attempting to buy her love once again.

Bryan McCabe turned around and glared, and to our surprise, stuck his tongue out at us before turning back to focus on the ice.

We lost that night 3-2 but I was in love.

...

"I'm going watch every game this upcoming season!"

"There's 82 games in a season," my boyfriend pointed out pragmatically. He is a diehard Flyers fan and he had never watched all 82 games. "How are you going to do so?"

"I'll find a way," I swore. Nothing was coming between me and my newfound love for hockey and the Capitals!

"Good luck," his gaze conveying his disbelief. I bet he thought I'd get bored quickly. Everyone knows that sports aren't my thing beyond passively watching Redskins football games.

While I don't think I watched all 82 games that following season, I came pretty damn close. The ones I didn't watch, I read all the recaps. I read hockey news like it was my job.

I still do.

...
I took my students a few years ago to a Capitals practice to understand teamwork.  That's where I fell in love not just with the team but with the players as well.

I'm a special education teacher: my students all have learning disabilities of some sort. One of my students has traumatic brain injury; he is the friendliest person you will ever meet despite his hardship but he has a hard time with the concept of personal space. My students waited patiently for autographs afterwards; well as patiently as elementary students can get. I happened to walk into the shop to get a drink and ran into David Steckel who was playing for the Capitals for the time. Instantly, I introduced myself and I blabbered on and on about how my students were outside and that they were special needs students and it would mean the world if he would take a picture with them. He smiled and asked me to lead me to them and then stood patiently as my students crowded him, hugged him, and asked him a million and one questions as only a child can do and took multiple pictures with us. He may not remember that moment but I will always. Not lomg after, Mike Green came out for autographs.  My little boy with traumatic brain injury wrapped himself around his legs.  Most people would freak out but not Mike! He just smiled, gave him a hug (along with the rest of my students) and posed for pictures with them. I lost my heart to hockey even more.
...

Some people follow celebrity stories; I personally love good hockey drama. I can't tell you much about stats, when a play is offisides, or when icing occurs, but I love the drama behind the scenes (see: Dry Island and Philadelphia Flyers, John Scott and the All Star Game, anything Sean Avery), the trades, the personalities. My friends and even my now husband (the one who doubted my 82 game watching skills) have learned (especially on free agent frenzy day and trade deadline day) have learned that if there is hockey news, I am the first to know it. I take pride in this considering that I knew nothing of hockey beyond its existance eight years ago.
...

I will admit I haven't watched much this season; life has gotten the better of me. But at the end of the day, one defining piece that has become a part who I am is my love affair for all things hockey and the Washington Capitals and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Date: 2017-01-07 08:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] winged-kame.livejournal.com
Reading this brought some tears to my eyes. I also got into hockey, in a large part, because of how so many of the players seem like genuinely good guys. I always love hearing stories to reconfirm that.

Date: 2017-01-16 01:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xlovebecomesher.livejournal.com
I'm glad you liked! A lot of the players seem to be really good guys :)

Date: 2017-01-07 03:35 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] bleodswean.livejournal.com
This was a fun and moving read! Sometimes it's really an expansive experience to be a fan!

Date: 2017-01-16 01:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xlovebecomesher.livejournal.com
It really is!

Date: 2017-01-07 03:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rayaso.livejournal.com
I enjoyed this so much! I loved how you went from your infection hockey with the hockey virus to the kids, and the willingness of the players to meet them. What a great idea for a field trip, and what a marvelous response from the players!

Date: 2017-01-16 01:57 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xlovebecomesher.livejournal.com
Thanks! It was a great field trip - probably one of the best I've gone on especially with watching the kids reactions!

Date: 2017-01-07 07:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] night-owl-9.livejournal.com
Great work!

Date: 2017-01-16 01:53 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-01-07 10:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cielamara.livejournal.com
I love everything about this post.

Date: 2017-01-16 01:53 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-01-07 11:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kajel.livejournal.com
It's funny, my sister is a huge Blackhawks fan. She isn't someone you would think would get into hockey, but she did suddenly several years ago. Reading this makes me want to ask her how it happened for her.

Date: 2017-01-16 01:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xlovebecomesher.livejournal.com
You should! I find that with hockey a lot of people have interesting stories of how they fell into being fans!

Date: 2017-01-10 02:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] murielle.livejournal.com
Well done! I love the humanity of this throughout.

Date: 2017-01-16 01:52 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-01-10 03:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] halfshellvenus.livejournal.com
What a terrific meet-up for your students-- you got very lucky with the stars who were willing to meet with them in person

My daughter became a soccer fanatic after the Summer Olympics, and has been following Bayern-Munschen ever since. The Trades, the changes in coaching, the retiring players... she knows it all. Thank goodness she lives in an age of sports streaming, and can actually watch most of the games via the Web. :D

Date: 2017-01-16 01:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xlovebecomesher.livejournal.com
It was a great field trip! The Caps players are pretty awesome in general if you wait around after practice for autographs and pics!

That's really cool about your daughter :D Sports can be a lot of fun behind the scenes!
Edited Date: 2017-01-16 01:52 am (UTC)

Date: 2017-01-10 07:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] penpusher.livejournal.com
Awesome story and a really terrific element you're providing to your students! I'm not sure if it's just because many if not most of them are from Canada, but I have found that the hockey players I have met are really respectful, soft-spoken, rather nothing like the image you would have of them, based on what you see from the highlights on your late local news! It's great to see that this still seems to hold true.

Date: 2017-01-16 01:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xlovebecomesher.livejournal.com
A lot of the hockey players I've met are quite respectful - one of my favorites not mentioned in here (couldn't figure how to throw him in) is Jose Theodore who I met a few weeks after he lost his baby son and he was the kindest person despite the tragedy he was going through.

Date: 2017-01-10 09:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sinnamongirl.livejournal.com
I love stories about athletes/celebrities just being plain good human beings. Great story!

Date: 2017-01-16 01:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xlovebecomesher.livejournal.com
Some athletes are really good people! The Caps in general tend to have a lot of really decent players/people on their team!

Date: 2017-01-10 09:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dee-aar2.livejournal.com
Loved this ... so true and so genuine ... with such a warm good feeling. Well Done

Date: 2017-01-16 01:47 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] xlovebecomesher.livejournal.com
Thanks! Glad you like :)

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