xlovebecomesher: (Washington Capitals)
"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.

March 2017

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