“My girlfriend always has that feeling that something’s missing. She checks her pockets, checks her purse, counts her kids, but nothing’s gone. She decided it was side effects from not going to her prom.” – Iona, Pretty In Pink
Did I mention that it was still just Game One?
Truth be told though, it was truly the first night that I realized…that the Rangers weren’t coming back this year. I know that sounds pathetic. But for a good two weeks after the blueshirts were eliminated, I kept feeling like I was missing something. I’d checked my keys, they were still there. I made sure I paid my bills on time. I double and even triple-checked my calendar.
But no, it was true. The Rangers weren’t playing anymore in the 2013 season.
I had all but given up on hockey after the lockout that got rid of 2004-05. I didn’t want to come back. Plus, the Mets were good, and I had more than enough attention bestowed upon them, even in the offseason. The Rangers didn’t deserve my attention, and neither did the rest of hockey.
So fuck ’em.
Till of course, the Mets collapsed in 2007. Then what was I to do? I needed another outlet. I had gone from not feeling anything, to suddenly wanting to go to games again. I went to three games that season. I was back.
Last year was the first year I felt like this could be it, this could be OUR year.
Then there was another lockout, and a shortened season. I tried to convince myself that this season, despite what happened, didn’t matter. The Rangers could win, but now there would be ammo for that whole “half a cup” business we’ve been saying for years about the 1995 season.
And then…it mattered.
As opposed to the 2007-08 season when I returned to the Rangers, the Mets were still a competitive team. A good team, even. In the year 2013, I have no respite. The Mets are simply awful, hard to watch and the games are ennui. Yet, you’d think I’d be used to it, being a Mets fan for 30 years, since good years are few and far between. I don’t feel the excitement I used to, going to games.
So I stay up and watch three OTs of playoff hockey, for two teams I don’t care much about.
Like Iona’s friend in Pretty In Pink, I didn’t go to my prom. Yet, I never exhibited an absent-minded professor side effects that her friend did, in skipping mine. The only time I do that these days is when I was looking for a Ranger game that didn’t exist.
The closest thing I had to a prom was the Rangers winning the Stanley Cup in the summer of 1994, the year I graduated high school. The amount of celebrating I did in honor that team lasted me a looooong time. I was 18. I was headed to college in the fall. I would be on my own for the first time. I didn’t give a shit about my prom. I gave a shit about that Cup.
So I stay up till 1 a.m. (EST, 12 a.m. in Chicago, 10 p.m. in California) to watch a game that I wish my team was playing. Guess I gave a shit after all about this year.
I do now know that the Rangers aren’t playing anymore this season, and that another year has gone by that my team is not in the big show, the Prom.
Once this series is over though, I’ll be able to watch the Rangers again in just a short few months. Baseball season will be ending at that point, and I’ll probably be thankful that the Mets season is mercifully ending.
Till then, I’ll be searching for the keys, counting my kitties, and wondering if I’ve misplaced my phone. But I do know that I didn’t go to my prom, and I chose hockey instead.
I’d still do it, almost 20 years later.