What does it mean to be a fan? This was a discussion we had at Easter dinner yesterday afternoon. I can name for you the date and time that I became a sports fan. It was January 20, 1985 and my dad and I were driving home from Kennewick Wa, to Portland OR. Super Bowl XIX was being played between the San Fransisco 49ers and the Miami Dolphins. We picked up the game on our way out of town. I don't remember how many different stations we changed to on the trip home, but I got the chance to root for Joe Montana as he led the 49ers to a 38-16 victory.
I became a football fan on that day. The next year I rooted for the Seattle Seahawks and I have been ever since. Through ups and downs, thick and thin, I was there. Bo Jackson running over Brian Bosworth on Monday Night Football? I was there. Dave Krieg being sacked 7 times by Derrick Thomas setting the single game sack record? I was there. Ken Behring looking to move the team to Hollywood? I was there. Jeremy Stevens talking trash about Jerome Bettis in Super Bowl XL and then dropping every ball thrown his way in the game (including two in the endzone)? I was there. I was even there when they won their division with a 7-9 record, and then to ensure that they would get a horrible pick in the NFL entry draft, beat the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the playoffs.
You're asking what my point is and I'll tell you. Being a Seattle Seahawks fan this last 27 years has taught me heartbreak, pain, and suffering. I follow other sports as well to a lesser extent. I like the Portland Blazers, Seattle Mariners, and University of Oregon football. I also am a huge fan of the Portland Winterhawks. Do you know how many championships those teams have combined to win since I started watching them? Zero, Zilch, Nada.
The NHL playoffs start on Wednesday, April 11th. Why is that important? What's my NHL team? I don't have one. My favorite NHL team is the one that's going to win the game. I may pick a team to root for during a playoff series, but if they don't win, I'm picking up my pack and moving on. I now have reinforced ankles to accommodate the shameless bandwagon jumping I do. Last season during the Eastern Conference Finals I rooted like crazy for the Tampa Bay Lightning. When they lost in game 7 to the Boston Bruins, I turned around and rooted for the Bruins to beat the Canucks. When the Bruins beat the Canucks in game 7 of the Finals to win the cup, I jumped up and danced around. I had won. My team had beat the other team and won the Championship.
Ellen Etchingham has a great piece that posted today to the Backhand Shelf blog where she pleads for us all to be fans. To dedicate ourselves to a single team and experience the highs and lows that come with that single minded focus. I'm here to tell you that I've done that. A lot. Nothing so far has matched watching my Boston Bruins win the Stanley Cup. Was I long suffering? I was not. Am I rooting for the Bruins again this year? Not yet. Right now I've got my eyes on the Nashville Predators. I'll start with them and see what happens. The best part is that come June I know that My team is going to be lifting the Stanley Cup.