My relationship with hockey has been strange and it came on really quickly.
I´ve always been a Bruins fan by default just because the only people in my life who cared about hockey were my grandparents and they were huge Bruins fans and even had a giant spoked B painted in their basement. But I never really followed hockey. I knew how it was basically played and I loved the movie Miracle, but that was about the extent of that. I was more of a football gal.
And then I came to Boston University. I always knew I wanted to play in an athletic band in college after growing up in front of the Syracuse University Marching Band, but marching wasn´t my thing. It was a lot of hard work and long hours and without a football team at BU, I just wasn´t interested.
So there entered pep band. The best decision of my life.
I like SU basketball, but didn´t follow it religiously and I don´t think I had even seen a single college hockey game in my life, but I was so excited for the season to start. And as I started meeting my fellow bandmates (most of whom had recently witnessed BU´s National Championship run in 2009) and chatting about what pep band was going to be like, I got super excited.
It didn´t take long for me to really catch on to hockey and learn all the rules. As a soccer player for 6 years, it wasn´t that hard. And then I started learning the players at BU. And then somewhere along the line I realized that starting Monday morning I was already looking forward to next week when I could throw on my red pep band polo and cheer my team on once again.
I fell in love with that team. And even more importantly, I fell in love with hockey.
During all of this, I ended up going to the Bruins rookie game at the start of their season. That was my first time in the TD garden for a hockey game and I remember looking around in awe at just how huge it was and how passionate the sports fans of Boston really were. I was also pulled in by the fights that were condoned and cheered unlike college hockey. Now, I love college hockey and my Terriers to death, but nothing can compare to the intensity and strenght of an NHL game.
We won that game, by quite a lot if I remember correctly. But one thing I will never forget…a kid named Tyler Seguin. He was the same age as me and I was baffled at how he could already be at this level playing in front of this crowd. I remember my boyfriend at the time leaning over to me and saying, ¨This kid is really going to be something.¨And man was he right!
As you know, the Bruins went on to win the Stanley Cup that year. I watched my first ever NHL Playoffs in my first ever dorm room in the city of the team that I had fallen irrevocably in love with. Since the Stanley Cup Playoffs are a million years long, I was home for the summer during the last two series and man, what a two series they were. My mom and I sat in front of the TV almost every night with all the windows open to the quiet summer night screaming our heads off at the TV, feeling like we were going into cardiac arrest at times, questioning Tim Thomas´s sainthood at others, and knowing that the neighbors probably thought there was some serious domestic issues going on in our house.
And the Bruins came out on top.
I was so upset that I wasn´t able to be in Boston for the parade and made my friends take a million pictures for me. And from that day on I have vowed to myself that I will never miss another Stanley Cup celebration parade in Boston ever again.
And that´s how it started. And now I´m a hopelessly obsessed fan who has joined the ranks of the crazy, passionate die-hards all around Boston.
Now that I´m in Madrid for the semester, it´s not quite so easy, but I do it.
Staying up until 4am when you have class at 8am is extremely worth it when cheering on a team as passionate and tough as the Boston Bruins.
I learn more and more about hockey every day. I learn who my favorite players are, I learn who the opposing players I want to jump off a cliff are, and I learn that no matter what, the Habs are the worst team in the NHL.
And last night I really learned what that rivalry is all about. Us Bruins fans were promised an intense game between two fierce rivals and we were certainly not disappointed.
Tuukka Rask was unbelievable in the first two periods and the offense that I know and love finally showed up for the third. (We won´t discuss the power play for now. In fact, can we start deferring power plays? It works in football…)
And I went to bed with a smile on my face and an alarm set for 3 hours later. This is Bruins hockey.
I´ll be home in time for the Playoffs and am honestly already super excited (and not only just because I won´t have to wait until 1am every night for them to start). And who knows? Maybe I´ll get to see my first Stanley Cup Parade in Boston sooner than I expected.
But that´s not important now. What´s important now is that we beat the Canadians, we jumped to third place, and NHL hockey is back in full swing as awesome as ever.