“Now I sit with different faces/In rented rooms and foreign places/All the people I was kissing/Some are here and some are missing/In the nineteen-nineties
I never dreamt that I would get to be/The creature that I always meant to be/But I thought in spite of dreams/You’d be sitting somewhere here with me
‘Cause we were never being boring/We had too much time to find for ourselves/And we were never being boring/We dressed up and fought, then thought: “Make amends”
And we were never holding back or worried that/Time would come to an end/We were always hoping that, looking back/You could always rely on a friend“
No one can accuse my husband and me of being boring. And even what others might not find interesting, we keep ourselves entertained with some pretty stupid shit.
Take for instance, our pop culture games. There’s a diner in Manhattan called Big Daddy’s, that is basically an homage to popular culture of the ’60s/’70s/’80s/’90s. There’s never a dull moment. Usually a song or a picture in there sets us off on some of our trivia contests, like “Name as many ’80s songs that serve as euphemisms for masturbation” or the backing performers or a band known mostly for its lead singer, like Bruce Hornsby. “Whatever happened to ‘The Range’ anyway?”
Like I said, some really stupid shit.
So why did it not surprise me when he told me I was banished from my own apartment during the Stanley Cup Final?
In case you missed it, we live, breathe and eat the philosophy of “It’s Only Weird If It Doesn’t Work.” It worked during the Seahawks and their amazing run to the Super Bowl championship.
I came up with a weird rule during the hockey playoffs this year. It was totally by accident. I missed the deciding game of the Rangers/Flyers first round series because I had fallen asleep, and forgot to set my alarm for the game. By the time I had gotten up, the Rangers were winning. I didn’t want to mess with the juju. They advanced.
During the semifinals against the Penguins, I was so drained. I missed a game because I was at a networking event. They won. So guess what? I thought, it was me, and I need to not watch a potential elimination game. So…
I missed the last three games of the series against the Penguins. They won.
So the superstition reset itself each series. And now, I was able to see the entire Eastern Conference Final games. And I felt like the jinx had worked. I was holding up my end of the bargain, as was @NotGlenSather and @Metstradamus. NotGlen had his McDonagh jersey on his couch; Metstradamus had to take the bus.
This changed though. Metstradamus was in international waters, negating all principles of the superstition. NotGlen decided to watch an away game at a place other than his house.
— NotGlen Sather (@NotGlenSather) May 17, 2014
“It’s Only Weird If It Doesn’t Work” got us all the way to Game Five of the Stanley Cup Final this year. Sadly, it didn’t go further.
“Home is a boot camp/you gotta escape/Wanna go and wander/in the ticker-tape /
You feel the deal is real/You’re a New York City boy/So young, so run/into New York City/
New York City boy/you’ll never have a bored day/
’cause you’re a New York City boy/where Seventh Avenue meets Broadway”
I love New York City. It’s the city of my dreams. As hokey as that sounds, I was 10 years old when I first visited Manhattan (though I had been to the surrounding areas numerous times, going to Mets games most Sundays as a child, I’d at least see it). The New York City I fell in love with was not a Disneyified version you see of Times Square today. No, it was drug dealers on one corner, prostitutes on the next, fake IDs and homeless people…I knew I needed to be there. I’d go into the city when friends or family from out of town came to visit. I’d walk everyone around, carefully mapping out what and where we needed to go. I’d always try to take a walking route through Times Square, no matter where we were going.
I didn’t go to my first Rangers game till 1989. It was a January game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. These were the young days of Mario Lemieux. I had been what I considered a sports fan, but I could never get with hockey on television. It was only when I went to my first game at the Garden that I was hooked.
The term “1940” meant absolutely nothing to me. I was young and unaware, unfettered by the whole idea of no championships. Two years later, Mark Messier came to the team.
Now, I knew who HE was. I had carefully followed other teams in the Hockey Digest I now purchased as a teenager. He played for the Edmonton Oilers, Wayne Gretzky’s old team. Gretzky was then a Los Angeles King. Messier had something else to prove, though his team had won a championship without Gretzky (and surprisingly, Gretzky never won a championship without Messier on his team).
I had an aversion to the Kings even back then, actually. See, my first ever favorite player on the Rangers was Tony Granato, who was one of the young rookie upstarts along with some dude named Brian Leetch (ever heard of him???). Granato was later traded to LA for Bernie Nicholls. Nicholls, was in turn, sent to Edmonton for one Mark Messier. Yes, that trade chain ultimately brought the team a championship, the first one in 54 years. My first ever Stanley Cup experience as a fan. The only one I had so far, and the only Final appearance I’d seen in my 25 years of being a Rangers fan.
When I became a Mets fan at age seven, I only had to wait a little over three years before I saw a return on my investment. The Rangers had won a championship with Messier leading the charge five years after I had become a fan. Detect a theme here? One thing I hadn’t yet seen as a fan of those teams: a ticker tape parade. Hell, I was AT game seven in 1986, and my dad wanted to stay for the parade the next day. However, my mom’s car got broken into and the windshield was smashed, presumably from a celebrating fan. We just went home. Being 10 years old, I wasn’t all that disappointed. Besides…back then…WHO KNEW THAT THE METS DYNASTY WOULD BE QUASHED BY 1990????
When the Rangers last won the Cup, I was a senior in high school. The parade coincided with finals. I found out some other diehards skipped out and went to the parade. I didn’t though, mostly because I was a goody two shoes. Plus, I didn’t have any friends. At least, the few I did have didn’t really give a crap about hockey. That spring and subsequent summer solidified my determination to getting to the city, eventually. The Rangers played a big part in that, especially when I saw Madison Square Garden. It was now the home of legends. But I had not yet been to a ticker tape parade. There have been a few here on the Canyon of Heroes. But none for my teams.
“You’ve got a clever way of haunting me/I’m never scared, but you’re still daunting me ’cause I know what you’re likely to say/and I know that you’ll get your own way And all I wanted to say was that I love you/but you’re telling me now you don’t believe it’s true You got a different, a different/a different point of view/You got a different point of view“
Someone asked me how I felt going into game one. I said, “If they lose, it’s not the end of the world.” And I still talked many Rangers fans off the ledge after the game one loss. I understood the distress of giving up a two goal lead, then losing in overtime. That was a huge momentum shift. But it was GAME ONE. It didn’t have to dictate the entire run of the series. Till it did.
I was adamant that the Rangers had a fighting chance against the Kings, that while the Kings won just two years ago, things had changed. The Rangers had their snipers Rick Nash, Brad Richards and Martin St. Louis, two players whom already won championships. The Kings for the most part were also two years older. They hadn’t faced any true “tough” competition, like Henrik Lundqvist. Hell, I even refused to pick a rooting interest in the Western Conference because I knew whomever I did pick would have a chance to beat my team. Careful what I wish for, is what I thought.
I work for myself, and there is a saying in my business that you can use a setback as motivation or an excuse. I’ve really been living that because you don’t want to lose out on opportunity because you feel bad for yourself. You don’t want to wonder “What If?”
I was surprised more fans didn’t feel the way I did. Yes, I know a few bad calls were made at the Rangers’ expense. Fact was, in that non-call for goalie interference in game two, the Rangers STILL had the lead. You shake that shit off. Put your big boy pants on and deal with it. Instead, they give up the lead, go to OT and… That was the series right there. They were in the Stanley Cup fuckin Final, and they’re being little bitches. That game infuriated me and kept me up at night more so than other loss in the series. They win that game, they’re still playing today. Game one didn’t change the dynamic of the series. Game two definitely did.
“We’ll stand around forever/regardless of time or weather/ordering drinks at the bar Looking for love and getting/nothing that’s worth regretting/but wondering why we travelled so far To speak is a sin/You look first, then stare/and once in a while/a smile, if you dare To speak is a sin/You’d better beware/but once in a while/a smile, if you dare“
In 1995, I bummed a cigarette off a young gentleman at the Rutgers University infamous grease trucks. He and his friend invited my friend and myself to a party. I found out this young man was a Rangers fan. That sealed it, and launched a friendship lasting nearly two decades. This gentleman is @NotGlenSather. He’s someone who I value not only as a person, but someone whose humor I get when I need it, and whose humor I will never turn down to get me through some rough spots. Especially when dealing with the Rangers and playoffs. He brought me to a Rangers playoff game last year where I held my breath and hid behind him for the last full minute of play of the game. He also helped me when I realized I was hyperventilating.
The night we met, I remember him telling me stupid rules, like “no laughing in the house,” or “no talking in the car” as went to the diner. Of course saying stuff like that made me want to laugh or to talk.
Of course, we both broke rules for the Stanley Cup Final. He didn’t park his McDonagh jersey on the couch. I knew that in the event of an elimination game, I wouldn’t NOT watch. So swoops in my husband to tell me that he couldn’t watch the game. This was something he discovered. The link was that he couldn’t watch. I had demonstrated that I could be at a game, watching elsewhere. Just not at home.
You can’t defy the nonsensical reasons. Because it’s sometimes all you have.
Two decades have gone by quickly. I sometimes can’t believe that in a few short years, I’ll be 40. Before I know it, another 20 years will have passed.
I went to that game on Wednesday so that it wouldn’t be when I was 60 the next time they made it. I’d at least have the experience now. The best case was that the Rangers would win and force a game five (they did). The worst case was that I’d see another team celebrating their championship on my home ice. I guess it was a win-win, that outcome.
“I woke up in a sweat/desolate/For there were no more lovers left alive/No one had survivedso there were no more lovers left alive/and that’s why love had died/Yes, it’s true/Look, it’s happened to me and you“
Since I had to find someplace else in public to watch the game, I knew I had to pick the right place. Only problem was my choices. I had Blondie’s, a famous sports bar, but I knew that I would be competing with bros and World Cup elitists. Couldn’t deal.
There were a couple other bars that have a reputation of filling up, one of which I ended up choosing. Not before making a quick pit stop to Uno on 81st and Columbus, where the creepy bartender guy who looked a serial killing rapist on Law & Order SVU, ignored me until other men came into the bar. When I brought to his attention that I had been sitting at a mostly empty bar for nearly 30 minutes and he hadn’t once asked me what I’d be having, he turned it on ME, the customer, for not bringing it to his attention. Yes, stopping him from his CLEARLY busy activity of chopping lemons, refilling the maraschino cherries bin and making like he was SO busy so he wouldn’t have to serve me.
I ended up choosing St. Games Gate, on 81st and Amsterdam. But not before telling both the host AND the manager at Uno that “I had planned on spending a lot of money in here to watch the game, and your douchebag of a bartender ignored me for thirty minutes when NO ONE else was there. Oh and he blamed it on me.” The host said, “Who?” I point to the bartender and said, “I won’t set foot in this joint that I typically frequent if this DICKHEAD is behind the bar again!” (I like their chicken spinoccoli. Sue me).
Within 15 minutes, a bartender tried to locate me a summer shandy that they didn’t even HAVE as an option, but set me with a dark and stormy instead. By this time, the Rangers had fallen 1-0 in the game. In due time, it was 2-1 Rangers. I thought, wow, this is working. So it’s totally NOT weird that my husband kicked me out and I had to bring my Rangers bear out with me to watch the game.
Till of course another questionable call happens. And I just knew, then, it wasn’t the Rangers year. Sure, it took almost two full overtimes to determine that. Despite all best efforts of the superstitious ones, despite the rally towels and the playoff beards and everything else, 2014 would just be oh-so-close. But just another year where the Rangers fell just short of a glory they had deservedly earned.
“Cross a windy bridge/one winter night/Past Embankment Gardens/enter warmth and light
Face the music (it’s never easy)/Forget the chill
Face the future (it’s never easy) /Find the will
If life is worth living/it’s got to be done
One might be forgiven/for thinking/it’s a life on the run
Many roads will cross through many lives/but somehow you survive“
You know what, Rangers fans. We’ve been through a lot together. Whether it was years of futility in the early aughts, whether it was the “real” Glen Sather making questionable moves like trading Brian Leetch, that rocked us to the core of our being. Whether it was getting beat by the Devils in a sudden death overtime in 2012. The truth is, I know most of us wouldn’t trade being a Rangers fan for anything in the world.
I sometimes curse my pop for getting me into the teams that have done nothing else but break my heart. I defied him by being adopted by the 12th Man in Seattle. But I’ll never stop being a Rangers fan. I was a fan of destiny.
I can go on and say that it was an amazing ride, and it was just simply an honor to be at the big show. But as RuPaul says, whoever says “it’s an honor just to be there,” is a lying BITCH.
I went to bed sad, woke up sad, had a few tears even.
The Pet Shop Boys are mostly known as a “one hit wonder” here in the United States, due to their big top 40 hit, West End Girls. That song is almost 30 years old. Yet, I know them as a band that has quite literally changed my life, and alternatively saved it. As an angsty teenager, I had listened to their Discography and Very, and they empowered me. I realized West End Girls SUCKED compared to what they could really do.
I could look at the bright side of things. Henrik Lundqvist still has a lot of good years left in him. They’re being led by another young upstart defenseman named Ryan McDonagh. Like it or not, Rick Nash is on the team for awhile. We wanted him, we got him. Now we have to deal with him. At the beginning of this season, we didn’t think they’d go anywhere, much less the Stanley Cup Final. This was a special team that banded together during the worst that could happen when a teammate lost his parent and STILL played his heart out. They seemed to adjust well (albeit on the slower side) to a new head coach, who seemed to get the most out of his players despite his quiet and subdued demeanor.
And hey, the Rangers losing wasn’t so bad. I did say that I would eat my own socks if they won a Cup in the first year under Alain Vigneault. It wouldn’t be SO terrible if they won in 2014-15. My socks and my digestive system would get a reprieve at least.
Yes, I woke up sad, but like that saying that you can be happy that it happened, I wouldn’t have traded it for anything else. The city became electric, like nothing I had seen before. All for a sport that most would think was a second or third choice behind baseball and football. Some teams just endear themselves to your hearts.
This was one of them.
We can take the spring of 2014 and put it in our back pocket. Cherish the memory, but know that something great is literally right around the corner. I felt it this year. It will be back before we know it. Whether it’s in 12 months or two decades.
Let’s hope it’s the latter. But in the meantime, I am going to hold onto my ticket stub from game five of the Stanley Cup Final, and hope that all the superstitions in the world bring it back here sooner rather than later.
“Come outside and see/a brand new day
The troubles in your mind/will blow away
It’s easy to believe/they’re here to stay
but you won’t find them/standing in your way
Se a vida é I love you/Come outside and feel the morning sun
Se a vida é I love you/Life is much more simple when you’re young
Come on, essa vida é/That’s the way life is
That’s the way life is“
***Many, many thanks to the New York Rangers for giving me something to complain about or be hopeful about, all at the same time, and the Pet Shop Boys for providing the soundtrack of my life (though I doubt when they wrote and composed their music, they had National Hockey League playoff games in mind).***