We may or may not have borrowed this idea from our friends at Pension Plan Puppets. They said we owe them Pietrangelo in return. They will probably get Steve Ott instead.
Today you get to meet Hoosier Blue, new non-gameday linkrat, occasional opinion sharer and Blues X-Men tracker.
1. Why/how did you become a Blues fan?
When I was a wee boy, my step-father was in management with Sportservice, the company that ran concessions at the Old Barn (peace be upon it) and the old Busch.
I got to go to several Blues and Cards games as a kid starting around 6 or 7. Baseball bored the white off my teeth but hockey...man that was something.
The energy, the smells, the sounds. It just captured me. I started getting sticks from players and meeting them occasionally. By about 10 years old I was hooked.
(Side note: Rob Ramage was ALWAYS giving sticks to us. Awesome dude. I also had a cherished Ron Hextall stick for quite a while.)
2. How many years have you suffered?
Well, I have been a "fan" for about 25 years. But the first time I was every emotionally vested in the team's success (or lack thereof as it was) was the 1992-93 season. The terrible fall, the resurgent spring, squeaking into the playoffs, creaming the Hawks in 4, watching Ed Belfour meltdown, then the heartbreaking defeat at the hands of Potvin and the Leafs.
I still remember sitting on our couch watching that last game. A terrible 6-0 blowout in a game 7.
Yeah...that pain is still with me. We will call it 22 years of suffering and counting.
3. Favorite player/moment
Favorite player as a kid was always Cujo. I was a goalie in high school hockey so it was a predictable choice, but I went as fan-boy for him as I ever have for anyone.
I had the posters, sought out the hockey cards, went to the signings. I learned his personal story...and I actually cried when he was traded to Edmonton. And then again when I had to see him in a RedWings Jersey.
Lately, however, I've been hooked on Tank. Since before the first game he played with us I knew he was something special. I had scouted him a bit once I heard he might be coming over. I told a Hawks fan 'friend' of mine after his first few games in the league that Tarasenko would be a household name in hockey circles within 5 years. I'm a little too old to go fan-boy these days, but I am damn close to full-on man-crush.
As far as favorite moment... I went to every home opener from 1993 until 2008 when a deployment prevented me from attending. (Stupid Army didn't have a "Blues game tradition emergency leave policy.") Those openers were always special. Cheesy theme song, laser shows and the smell of virgin hope, not yet defiled by the reality of institutional failure... Those moments...when anything was possible...they were the best.
4. How did you begin writing for Game Time?
Well, I had done a few fan posts and I always had enjoyed writing. I usually did political stuff but the way I see it, sports writing is similar in that you are always right, the other guy is wrong and no one is going to change their opinion.
I had a thing for tracking former Blues...mostly to punish myself since they always seemed to do much better once they left. I asked Hildy if I could do a weekly former Blues piece called "X-men" and she said yes. I dug it for a while, got a piece or two shared by Puck Daddy and enjoyed seeing the metrics on my pieces. In fact, those metrics were my gratification. Then, one day, for who-the-fuck-knows what reason, SBN stopped letting regular writers see those metrics (well, this regular writer anyway) and my gratification was gone. It got harder to find the passion to put it all together without knowing that it was being read and appreciated...so I stopped.
I am doing links on non-game days now, and contribute pieces from time-to-time including a bunch of the UFA survivor pieces from over the summer.
5. Are you an out of towner? How does this impact your fandom?
Yes. I live in Fort Wayne, Indiana. They have a ECHL franchise here that does well and a decent hockey culture for a small town without a NHL franchise to help grow it. Fortunately this is considered 'home market' for the Blues (even though Detroit, Columbus and Chicago are all closer, and there are few Blues fans to speak of around here) so while I get blacked out on NHL Game Center, I get FSMW on my Direct TV.
Being removed from the heart of Blues' Country is what introduced me to this site. It is what got me reading hockey news from multiple sources and ultimately got me writing for the best Blues fansite in the whole of internetdom. So, I suppose it is working out. Homes are dirt cheap in Fort Wayne, so it's cheaper for me to live here and drive in for a few games a year anyway.
6. Do you have other hobbies other than hockey?
Well, I play hockey locally (My team is called Mid-Ice-Crisis, in case you've heard of us). I also ride bikes, read history books, lead my oldest son's scout den and I write for VAPE magazine. I'm also usually involved in local politics because I like to disturb the shit.
7. Favorite beer/beverage
This is a tough one. I have been a Guinness guy for 15 years and a Smithwick's guy for almost as long. I am a craft beer aficionado (no, we aren't all hipsters) and I enjoy many a good beer. Recently I've been drinking a lot of Nitro Milk Stout (DAMN fine beverage) and Not your Father's Root Beer (nostalgia with 5.9% ABV).
8. How many more years do you think it'll be before the Blues win the Stanley Cup?
I can't answer this. I won't try. If there is a God, and if He loves me at all, it will happen before I die or become too senile to give a shit.
9. Most important lesson learned as a Blues fan?
That the Irish aren't the only group of people whom God sees fit to perpetually punish.