They won. You celebrated. It’s over. The Blackhawk’s victory parade was last Friday. OK – so I gave you the weekend, and the party continued. The masses were still wearing their Hawks gear, flags and banners were still flying. But it is Monday and it’s over. I’m calling it. Somebody has to.
Admittedly, I wrote at the beginning of the season that I am the Worst Hockey Fan Ever and that really sucks. I wanted to be a Real Fan. I tried. I watched the playoff games. Some of them. At least the last period. Definitely the last couple of minutes. Maybe.
I can’t help it. When the entire city was going crazy, I just faked it. I am a Fake Fan. I took out my Blackhawk’s T-shirt that that I bought 24 years ago that says “1988-89 Norris Division Champions.” I didn’t actually wear it – it’s really dingy. See? Bad Hockey Fan.
A recent conversation that I had with My Sports Guy while watching a TV interview went like this:
Me: Who is that?
Him: Joel Quenneville, the Blackhawks Coach
Me: Is he new?
Him: Seriously? He’s been the head coach for five years. Where have you been?
Me: I have never heard that name before – it’s an unusual name – I would have remembered it.
Him: (Just a look of disbelief and an eye roll)
I rest my case. I just block out all things hockey. Now, if the Bears, Bulls or OMG the Cubs were Champions I would be insanely and legitimately over the top with it…but, hockey, yuk. Crazy, I know.
But, I love a party mood, so once again I tried to get on the Blackhawk Band Wagon, but I knew that sooner or later I would be forced to wear the Scarlet “F” on my chest (as in Faker). And, sure enough, the reality bomb hit me last week when I overheard a conversation between some Real Blackhawk Fans and I knew I would never be worthy.
One of the guys was talking about how he was on a plane last Monday night while the Hawks were playing the game that clinched the Stanley Cup.
Having (I thought) something in common, I interjected that I was on a plane also on Monday night when I heard that they won. Saw the text from My Sports Guy as we were approaching the gate: HAWKS WIN!!! HAWKS WIN!!!
So, here was the difference between two Chicagoans – one, a Real Die Hard Hawks Fan, and me – a Wannabe Faker.
Keith, the Real Fan had been returning from a mandatory business trip, but he had booked a flight that had him arriving in Chicago before the game. However the black hand of fate, aka the evil Spirit Airlines for whatever malicious reason delayed his flight, and to hear him describe his subsequent loss was heart wrenching.
Standing there in his Blackhawk’s jersey, he related with sincere hurtful emotion, how that game – that victory – was taken from him and how he will never, ever get that back – without a doubt, the most exciting game of his life and he missed it. That minute and how many seconds? (I forgot) when they made those goals – he was robbed of witnessing, in real time, this infamous moment in Blackhawks history.
Wow. I listened in silence, knowing I should be feeling really guilty right then. Why? Well…I was on a pleasure trip and my plane was on time. Yes, I shamefully booked a four hour flight knowing that it totally coincided with the 6th game that could be the clincher. And, not only did I not care about that, but I didn’t care that I missed that game, in real time, at all. Hell, there are reruns of that game that we’ll be looking at for years. But, reruns aren’t the same to a Real Fan – to the Keiths of Chicago. There is no substitute. Period.
So, what’s a die-hard like Keith going to do? Even though he will never regain that monumental experience and he will never forgive or forget, he did have one recourse. He had one avenue of retaliation that would bring him some tiny bit of payback.
I listened to his plan. He bitterly, but emphatically stated how he was going to totally boycott Spirit Airlines. That’s right, “He will never, ever fly Spirit Airlines as long as he lives.
Hmmm. I thought about this. I actually hate Spirit Airlines. They suck you in with cheap fares and then charge you for everything. They charge you for water. The truth.
So, that night, I decided, in total support of a Real Fan like Keith, and all of the Chicagoans that were on that delayed flight into Chicago to boycott Spirit Airlines for the rest of my life. Done deal.
Maybe in a weird connect the dots scenario; I’ll earn some hockey fan points by helping to make a statement. You can’t mess with the sports memories of guys like Keith and not pay the price. Right? Who knows, maybe other Blackhawk fans will take up the cause. Let me know if you’re in.
Oh, and by the way, if anyone reading this knows anybody on the Blackhawks team that’s running around the city with that big trophy cup, can you have them bring it over to Keith’s house? Maybe he can drink a beer out of it or something, we need to cheer this guy up.