For those of you who don't know me (aka all of you) I am relatively new to this site, at least as a member. The name's Aaron, howdy. I felt compelled to join Second City Hockey after I moved away from the promised land this fall, to give me an outlet back to the city that will always be home to me and the team that I will always love through thick and thin.
Anyways, I'm a consumate Blackhawks fan (as we all are) and above else just a general fan and student of the sport.
I can still remember my first hockey game,
It was in 1991, I was 5, and I can remember watching my first favorite player in old Chicago Stadium: Jeremy Roenick. All through peewees I played center and wore number 27, I
wanted to be wished I could be Jeremy Roenick, the blue collar player who made up for his lack of sheer dazzling skill (although he had a fair amount of that in my opinion) with pure WANT TO. I can remember being a kid that was too young to comprehend HOW my heroes could lose the cup in 1992 (As I aged, the fact that they were pitted against Lemieux and Jagr made there loss more comprehensible), however still I wanted to be Roenick.
As I came through middle school and Roenick's glory began to fade a new hockey player was emerging: Marian Hossa. I never stopped being a Blackhawks fan, but from the day that Hossa first put on that Ottawa Senators sweater back in, I think it was, 1998 I was a Hossa fan. The guy just plays the game with such passion and he was so complete. It wasn't just the scoring, everybody knows about that, it was the way he checked, his presence in every situation, it seemed like the guy had eyes on the back of his head. I remember last year was the first time I ever cheered for Detroit to win the cup after the Hawks went down, I wanted Hossa to win it. When I first heard that Hossa was coming to the Blackhawks it was the happiest day of my sports-life (well, until yesterday of course).
In high school I still played center, my love for Roenick MADE me a center. However, I changed my number to no. 18, I wore Hossa's number all through high school.
To watch the post game last night made, hell, it made my short life to this point. It was a collision of worlds, a joyful, wonderful colliding of the worlds. Roenick and Hossa, the embodiment of my passion for the sport, the men who inspired me to play and influenced how I played the game.
I know Roenick will catch hell for breaking down on national television, but honestly, the guy brought me to the verge of tears myself. As he spoke I remembered myself as the 6 year old kid, heart broken and unable to understand why my hero "NEVER GOT TO DO THAT." But also to see the elation on Hossa's face, my hero who "FINALLY GOT TO DO IT." I will cherish that for ever.
After the victory, the bartender at the sports bar where I watch every game (btw quick shout out to Vonnie and the staff at Red's Bar in Missoula, Montana: you guys are awesome) was kind enough to allow me and my friends to commandeer their stereo system. We plugged an MP3 player into it and blaired "Chelsea Dagger" and "Here Come the Hawks" well into the night. Shots were poured, beer flowed, embraces abounded. Near the end of the night, as the party began to dwindle a few of my friends retired to my house, we sat on my couch with a bottle of champagne, fired up the computer, and started to watch a replay of the post game celebration on the internet. We also popped in Wilco's Kicking Television album to play the live version of "Via Chicago" on repeat (as it was deemed most appropriate at the moment). No kidding, the climax of the song ("I KNOW I HAVEN'T GONE TOO FAR") where Tweedy and Stirrat sing in harmony as Nels Cline blasts into the solo, at that very moment in the song, the video player on my computer was showing that man, HOSSA, finally hoisting his cup...it was surreal, and the perfect capper to a perfect night....
enjoy folks, the cup finally is coming home, via Chicago.
Well, I'm off soon to hop on a plane to Chicago, because I promised myself that no matter how far afield my life and career took me I WOULD NEVER MISS THIS PARTY.
Quick Endnote: I know there are some talented people here. If it is at all possible (I know there's copyrights and such) could somewhat make a montage of the cup raising set to Via Chicago? It would make at least one Hawks fan extremely appreciative, and you'd always have access to a spare bed and fridge full of beer should your travels take you to Missoula.