This is the first in a series of posts chronicling the adventures of Lil' Louie, the smaller, plush-ier version of everybody's favorite hockey-loving blue bear, as he goes around the world to meet Blues fans in every corner of the globe. For more information on the genesis of this project, see here.
Lil' Louie is off on his 6-month plus journey around the world. As I type this, he's already en route to his third stop, Oregon, to enjoy tall trees, artisanal cupcakes, and recreational weed. Later this week you'll get to hear about his recent adventures at the Blues-Canucks game in Vancouver.
But first, he needed to explore his own home town.
When I first got the idea for this project, it was the middle of August. I initially wanted to start right away, to numb the pain of the slowest month in the hockey world. But the chance to take him to opening night just felt too right (it was also a Sunday, and I learned the hard way that the Blues Team Store is closed on Sundays). But more importantly, it gave me the excuse I needed to convince myself to keep a personal tradition alive.
I don't have any season ticket package (I'm poor as fuck you guys), but I still usually make it to about 8-12 Blues games a year. Most of the time it's a spur of the moment decision - I'm board at around 3:00, remember there's a home game that night, ask if I can leave work an hour early, then buy a ticket at the door, somehow getting away with using my student ID despite having not been out of college for 4 years now (surely the clock is ticking on that scam). But one tent pole has remained for several years now: opening night.
I've been to 7 of the last 8 home openers, with the only missing piece being the first game after the most recent lockout. I wanted to put up my own, personal if tiny and meaningless protest. My reward for doing so was missing the first NHL game of Vladimir Tarasenko's career, along with his first two goals. After the embarrassing display the Blues put up against the Wild last year, followed by the utterly pathetic attempt to fix things this offseason, I wanted to do the same this year. I wanted to vote with my money that I didn't like what the organization had been doing for the past few months. I wanted to break the spell this team has over me, making me believe again in the fool-hearty dream of competitive competency. When the Blues said "come back," I wanted to say strongly proclaim "no."
Welp, it's game day! Buckle up!
Lil' Louie, unsurprisingly, was much more willing to give it a go. But first he wanted to look around.
"Clang-clang-clang went the trolley..."
Ol' Blue Eye
No Al, don't slapshoot Lil' Louie! (Side note: that is not my McDonald's on the right.)
Lil' Louie doing some pre-game reading.
The Heartland of Hockey
Everyone loves to start off with a win!
Some of us Game Timers went to Maggie O's after the game, where Lil' Louie enjoyed some toasted raviolis and this pose with Dan's new Troy Brouwer puck.
Later this week you'll get to hear about Lil' Louie's trip to Canada, the first of 7 different countries he's set to visit. If you've ever followed my writings, you've probably caught on by now that I'm not great with deadlines. But the rest of this series will go up in a more timely manner. Stay tuned!