At the beginning of the year, I wrote a post about how I lost my fandom: The Snow Bowl Took Away My Fandom. It describes how the Snow Bowl in Foxboro Stadium in 2001 was my last recollection of being a sports fan. It’s not that I stopped being a fan, it was just that the business side of sports took away the pure joy of the games that a true fan experiences. There is no doubt that when I was growing up, and through the early years of my career, I was a die-hard Boston sports fan, reading every story, and knowing all the players and their stats. I knew individual and team rushing yardages, passing stats, ERA, batting averages – a full on sports junkie.
When I was a kid, I lived, ate, and breathed sports, playing every minute I could and watching or listening the rest of the time. When I played centerfield in Little League, I imagined I was Freddy Lynn (Red Sox Center Fielder), when playing street hockey I was Bobby Orr (Bruins Defenseman), or I was John Havlicek (Celtics Forward/Guard) shooting hoops and stealing the ball. I vividly remember imitating Johnny Most’s voice (Celtics legendary play-by-play announcer) as I was dribbling the ball. I collected and traded player cards, had banners all over my room, and never wanted to leave early from any game my dad took me to, even if we were getting blown out by the opposing team.
As you “grow up”, most things that you cherish and enjoy as a kid fade away and lose their luster as you become an adult. But being a sports fan is a different thing; quite typically, adults become even more rabid about their teams and the sports they love. Because my business became sports, I lost that feeling and the true enjoyment (sad face staring into the computer screen). I lost my fandom.
(Short reflective pause and sigh)
Guess what? I have exciting news! I just recently found my fandom. It wasn’t lost at all. No. My kids had it. And, lo and behold, they showed it to me during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. How cool is that?
Both my son and daughter got into the Bruins this year, a little after football season. They asked to go to games (which we did) and they watched on TV. They got jerseys of their favorite players along with other Bruins paraphernalia. It was so much fun watching their enjoyment that I got caught up in the excitement. Then, the playoffs came and they cranked up their level of fandom. Making signs, wearing the same clothes for every game, sitting in the same seats in our living room, and donning foam fingers and claws. They were fully into it, as was my wife, Patricia. And I was right there with them, cheering, high fiving, tweeting, and posting Bruins content on Facebook.
All of this build up was great, but it really struck me when we went to game six of the Stanley Cup Finals at the TD Garden. As we were all singing the National Anthem at the top of our lungs, and I had a foam claw held over my heart, I knew my fandom was back. The enjoyment of the high fives and knuckle bumps with my kids during that game was pure, and I once again felt like that 10 year old boy pretending to be Bobby Orr. It was so great to just be a fan again during the Stanley Cup Playoffs & Finals. It’s the first major sporting event in over 20 years that I didn’t treat or view as business, watching every game with just P, the kids and friends. The kids helped me locate my fandom, and it was truly an awesome experience.
I missed that pure enjoyment as a fan. It’s great to have it back, and I have to thank my kids for finding it for me. I also have to thank the Bruins for making the occasion perfect by actually winning it all. The Stanley Cup is the perfect cherry on this sweet treat – a reunion with my childhood passion.