As I write this, I’m watching the Los Angeles Kings take on the Dallas Stars on television.
At age 52, I still consider myself a Southern California kid. In the mid 70’s when I was in high school…I played hockey–on ice. That was unheard of in those days and it was strictly an underground enterprise for the most part. This was pre-Gretzky mind you. I loved to play, and to this day treasure every one of those moments. For a relatively shy kid who wasn’t part of the “in-crowd”, ice hockey provided me with a HUGE dose of self-confidence. In fact, this shy kid ended up leading the league (Orange County to Santa Barbara) in penalty minutes for fighting.
My dad had a client who’s company had season seats to Kings games, and this guy used to offer me seats on a regular basis. I saw probably 40-50 home games at the Fabulous Forum back in the day…the days of Rogie Vachon, Marcel Dionne, Dave Hutchinson, and a rookie named Dave Taylor. My dad and I frequently went to games together…another cherished memory.
Sports affects all of us differently. Some people have no connection, while for others it becomes a way of life. For me, sports and ice hockey specifically, became an important fabric of my life.
Last year, as the Kings began their run for the Stanley Cup, something they had not done in over 40 years, I decided to surprise my son and get us tickets to a Western Conference Playoff game against Phoenix, costing me a small fortune. The game ended up being the only home game the Kings lost but the game itself was an unqualified success…my son and I had a blast. I hadn’t been to a Kings game in a long time and as they came out onto the ice to the roar of the sell-out crowd, I desperately fought the urge to break down into a puddle of sobbing goo. It was hard enough to hide the tears streaming down my face. He asked me if we could go to another game this year for his birthday…I couldn’t get the tickets fast enough.
The Kings won the Cup that year…I watched on TV and let it all go at that moment. A man in his 50’s literally…and I mean literally sobbing uncontrollably as I watched my beloved Kings hoist the cup.
It happened again last night. If found this video and turned into a sobbing mess once again.
It’s funny what things unleash the faucet, but the LA Kings…my connection to hockey and my childhood, inevitably inspire the waterworks. Bubba Watson lost it during a press conference leading up to the Masters today…relax Bubba…I get it.