It’s been a few days now since San Jose beat the Detroit Red Wings (in 5 games bitches!) and advanced to the Western Conference Finals for only the second time in franchise history. Last night it was determined that the Sharks would be facing the Chicago Blackhawks. I was hoping for the Vancouver Canucks , but whatever. The thing is though, I watched a tribute video a fan made, and it made my heart swell and brought tears to my eyes. The video consisted only of photos of the players and video of great plays and goals made by the Sharks in the first two rounds. I can’t even blame the music, because I was watching on a break at work and had the volume too low to really hear.
I just LOVE. THIS. TEAM. They are “my boys”, “my Sharks”, “MY team”. A sentiment I know is shared by a legion of fans, and one that frequently surprises me.
I grew up not caring about sports. I was a chubby kid who loved to read. My dad watched football 2-3 days a week, and I HATED it. I was a cheerleader for a couple of years in junior high (I know, right?”) and I did it for the attention the uniform got me, not because I loved to cheer for football. I’ve attended exactly one baseball game in my entire life- A’s vs. Angels, June 1994. There was like, one base hit the entire game until one of the teams won it with a home run in the 9th. BO-RING! I only went because I got free tickets for not cutting school on Senior Cut Day and my friend wanted to go.
All of that changed when I went to my first Sharks game. I loved it. I had fun watching the guys and learning the game. I bought Sharks apparel and stuck a bumper sticker on my car with their logo. And I stuck by my team every post-season, even after they’d gotten knocked out, because they were the my Sharks. One could argue that I like the Sharks only because they’re my hometown team, because I like and follow other teams too. The Chicago Blackhawks, because dude. Bobby Hull’s game sweater. They were the first hockey team I knew. I followed the Toronto Maple Leafs for a while because they had my goalie, my Vesa (Toskala). The Bruins have my hockey boyfriend, Zdeno Chara, but they also have my friend Ray’s favorite player, Marco Sturm, and Marc Savard was on my fantasy team this season. I follow the Capitals because Charlotte does, and keep an eye on the Canucks because they have my beloved Beast, Steve Bernier, and because I have a dear friend who lives in Vancouver.
But the Sharks. They will forever be my team, the team I root for over any of those others listed above, because they’re the team that stirred my passion for this amazing sport that I now play*. I liked them from the moment I saw that first puck drop in a building with 17,000 other fans. I realized how much I truly love this team when I was surprised by how much just a series of images could stir my soul, give me goosebumps and bring tears to my eyes. Do I want them to go all the way this year? Do I think they can? HELLS YES I DO. Buif they don’t, that’s okay too. They’re still gonna be my boys.
*Seriously, that still trips me out. I’ve been playing two years and I still wonder who this chick who plays hockey came from.