I don’t admit this out loud to many people, so listen carefully, and listen quickly.
Exactly one year ago today, Haviva and Katelyn sat me down in front of the Stanley Cup quarterfinals on the giant TV in the Cellar pizza shop of the University of Puget Sound.
How are we sure it was today, April 15? Well, the Penguins were playing the Senators, appropriately enough, and I didn’t have a favorite player, let alone a favorite team.
Then this happened. Third game of the series, 10:58 in the third period:
In that moment, Colby Armstrong jumped up, grabbed my little bruiser roller derby girl heart, and sort of ran off with it. Mostly in that moment it was a “WHAT THE HELL YOU CAN DO THAT IN THIS SPORT I LOVE THAT GUY” response, but as I found out more and more about Army and the Penguins and hockey in general, the more I loved all of it. I’ll argue until the day I die that it was a legal hit, no elbow involved, and Eaves needed to be looking where he was going.
Fittingly enough, though, neither Army or Eaves is left on their respective teams, fighting it out in this Pens/Sens series. Army’s on the golf course somewhere now, the Atlanta Thrashers having not made the playoffs. Eaves, now with the Carolina Hurricanes, has also started his off-season earlier than he would have wished.
Today I’m sitting in Hershey, waiting for the Bears to start their playoff run, reveling in the fact that the Penguins are kicking some Senator butt, hoping that the Caps can, in fact shut down the Flyers. I can now talk to you about PIM and +/-, the use of a good backcheck and who’s going to make the big team next year. I’ve watched NHL games, AHL games, WHL games, college games, I’ve been to Mellon and Verizon and the Wachovia, I’ve developed a hatred for cheap shots and a love of the grinders and checkers and even to some extent the agitators, as long as they can back up their words with actions. I own two jerseys, one outdated, one autographed, one sweatshirt, three hats and two t-shirts. I’ve learned who to trust on a breakaway and who’s going to choke every time. I’ve seen a live goalie fight, and I’ve bargained with the higher powers for the sake of my team.
A year in, I think I can own the title proudly now.
My name is Teka, and I am a hockey fan.