(This is the next in a continuing series about how some of us became diehard Blues fans. Up today is a commenter and guest live blogger. If you'd like to submit a story, e-mail us.)
By Poor College Student
For as long as I can remember, I've been watching Blues games. One of the earliest memories I have is lying in front of the TV at my Mom's and watching some guy named Brett Hull score a goal followed by some guy yelling "86!" over and over.
Blues hockey was a certainty on weekends and Thursday evenings at my Dad's. He'd pick me up, go by the convenience store to pick up a pizza or something to make for dinner and we'd go to either his house or his best friend's house. We'd settle in and get comfortable with some pizza slices and beer (or in my case, pizza slices and milk) and listen to Ken Wilson and Joe Micheletti add commentary and dialogue to the moves of Hull, Shanny, Cujo and even Nelson Emerson. I would always watch at the edge of my seat or sprawled out on the floor while I rooted for Hull and anybody else I could recognize, although as long as they wore a Bluenote they were OK by me. It wasn't always easy to understand what was going on, but I always knew that when the red light went on and our guys threw their hands up, we had scored and times were good.
I can track my roots to a memory at my Mom's house of goal No. 86 (I was born in 1987, so I wasn't quite 4 years old) and several Saturday nights watching hockey with my Dad. I was a fan, sure, and I'd root for them whenever they were on, but it was a fateful night around the age of 5 that hooked me for good.
My Mom came through the door and surprised me with Blues tickets for that night that a fellow nurse could not use. Unbeknownst to me (but knownst to her), one could actually watch these games in person. I guess that explained all those people sitting around the boards when I watched it on TV. So here we sat in somebody else's season ticket seats watching the Blues take on the Leafs (game ended in a 5-5 tie, if I remember correctly). During an intermission we wandered around the building trying to grasp the entire aura of this ungodly loud and spectacular place. We settled near the tunnel where the players came out to start each period. I stood as close as I could to where they'd step out without stepping beyond the usher. I guess I had the luck of being a little kid at my first Blues game because the usher motioned for me to step on up right there by the ice. This put me within spitting distance of people I had played as on my Super Nintendo. The future Poor College Student was indeed enthused. The usher told me to hold my hand out "like this" so the players might see me and wave or something. By this time, my heroes Cujo and Hull had already passed. Still, I have to thank Tom Tilley for high-fiving me with his sweaty, Gatorade-soaked glove as he took to the ice. Right then, a fanatic was born.
After the first visit with the old Arena, I couldn't go to bed (9 o'clock on school nights) during a game without having my Mom tape the rest for me to watch the next morning over breakfast. Somewhere in the attic at my folks' house, there's a box with a bunch of third period and post-game videos in it.
Naturally, I was thankful that the playoffs were in the summer. I got to stay up until the end of games. And it's sad to say that the time when this "reward" of staying up late was the most utilized happened to be the infamous 1996 Game 7 with (Fuck) Detroit. My first "F" bomb came that night.
That's how I got hooked, more or less. From then on, I was scouring the sports page for box scores and stats. Eventually, cable came to my house and with it came more Blues coverage for me. Sometime later...the Internet and some guy named "Spector." And eventually I crossed paths with a fan-run paper outside of Savvis.
In closing, Fuck Detroit.