Putting the I in Team
It’s not a fancy new way of spelling, it’s a play on an over-used (and abused) phrase. Forgive me, but it worked if you’re reading this. I promise I’ll make it worth your time. I’ll give you one last chance to back out though. Here’s the buzzword hint: Hockeytown.
I’m talking about Detroit, Michigan! Just a few days ago I wouldn’t have put the exclamation mark on that sentence. Heck, the only exclamation I’d have made about moving back to Michigan would have been vulgar and unfit for mixed company. So what changed?
The Detroit Redwings. Say what you will about Michigan- and I’ve said a lot over the years (I was born and raised here, I’m allowed) – the Detroit Redwings have always held a special place in my heart. There’s something magical about them. Something that sucks you in and gets your blood pumping. Something that makes everything else seem like it doesn’t matter.
Case in point, my wife and I were leaving the Joe Louis arena after a good game against the St. Louis Blues last night (Redwings 5, Blue 3), when my wife wanted to use the restroom one last time. She was standing in line next to a woman who was bound for Cabo that very night on vacation. Since they were staying at the hotel near the airport her husband’s boss asked if he wanted some free tickets to the game. They said sure, they’d start their vacation a day early even though neither were hockey fans (or knew much of anything about them). As the game progressed they found their spirit and were chanting and clapping and screaming with the rest of us.
I’d love to say hockey does that to people, but I don’t think that’s it. I think it has to do with the people and how the Redwings have been there to help draw Detroit together for almost a hundred years. They’ve been there in good times and bad and even weathered a fourtyish year drought without a Stanley Cup win. Last night’s game was the 75th consecutive sold out home game. I don’t know if any other hockey club can boast that.
I looked around at the fans in the stands and realized that nobody cared who voted for who. Nobody cared if you were pro gun or pro right to life. Nobody cared about any of that. Instead we were all banded together to watch some great hockey and put our differences aside to work for a common goal. Ironically, it wasn’t even the goal of beating the Blue. It was to see some exceptional players dazzle us with their skills. And for the record, the Blues had some damn good plays too. One scrawny guy a few rows up from us jumped up and got excited when the Blue scored. I feared for that guy’s life, surrounded by a sea of red and white jerseys! But nobody even gave him any crap (or at least not much). We were there to be comrades. To enjoy a sport that brings together people from all over the world, regardless of nationality, color, gender, or religion.
There was one thing that stood out worth mentioning though. To the lady sitting in section 217B or 217C with the striped pants. Please burn those pants and never show them in public again. Even I know better than that and I’ve got the fashion sense of a camel in the arctic.
For me it showed me what I’ve been missing for the last 3 years. We moved to Utah where we couldn’t even get the TV to show a Colorado Avalanche game, then to NE Ohio where you’d think there’d be some love for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Not so much, it was all about the Cleveland Browns or the Pittsburgh Steelers. I only recognized a handful of players on the team now that most of the guys I grew up with and loved have retired. But now that I’m back in Michigan hockey’s on the TV and I’m now comfortably close to the Joe. I’ll go back for more, I guarantee it.
It reminded me of how much I used to love to skate and play hockey too, admittedly more on roller blades than ice skates. I may just see about finding a league for old guys who won’t accept that they’re old and see about joining it.
So here’s my way of saying thank you to the Red Wings for making me proud of where I live and where I’m from. Sure Detroit’s got its problems but Hockeytown will rule forever.
To learn more about Jason Halstead, visit his website to read about him, sign up for his newsletter, or check out some free samples of his books at http://www.booksbyjason.com.