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« Free admission to Michigan State Parks | Main | Green Transit In Detroit: The Night Move »
Monday
Jun152009

On Not Winning The Stanley Cup

I didn’t want the Detroit Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup this year for the team, the city, the fans or myself. I wanted it for my husband. In case you don't know, my husband is English and this was his first NHL season living in the States.

Most of us, even the fair weather fans, have supported the Red Wings for years. We’ve rode the roller coaster of ups and downs throughout our lives. We have a history with this team. For my husband, however, this is all new. He’s a new fan and doesn’t have the same connections and memories that we do.

My husband and my brother walking around Comerica Park.I have been a Red Wings fan since the early to mid 80’s. I was a fan when we sucked. I was a fan when Mitch Albom went to Kmart with Petr Klima. I was a fan when Jacques Demers was fired. And I was a fan when the Bruise Brothers, Bob Probert and Joey Kocur, were known for tearing it up on the ice.

During my freshman year of college a friend, who shall remain anonymous, would steal the Detroit Free Press sports section from the library for me so I could follow my team. I would try, and sometimes succeed, to tune in WJR from my dorm room in Milwaukee so I could listen to the games.

I was also a fan when we were awesome. In 1997, I was living in Chicago and wore my Red Wings jersey proudly when we won the Stanley Cup. I think I actually enjoyed being tortured by the Blackhawks fans. In 1998, I was home in Detroit for my cousin's high school graduation party on the day we won the cup. I’m still indebted to her for scheduling it on that day.

I moved back to metro Detroit in 1999 and started frequenting a bar in Birmingham, Dick O’Dow's. Imagine my amazement when I found out that this wasn’t just my regular bar—Brendan Shanahan, Chris Chelios, and Brett Hull also hung out here. Seriously. I was on cloud nine and enjoyed chats with them on occasion. In 2002, the cup came to Birmingham and Dominik Hasek walked into Dick O’Dow's to a rockstar entrance. Pure bliss!

And of course, 2008 brought another cup to Detroit. This time I was living in England and had to celebrate on my own. Actually, I fell asleep before the end of the final game, before the cup was hoisted. In my defense, the games don’t start in the UK until 1am.

You see, I have had some great experiences as a Detroit Red Wings fan. More than I could have ever dreamed of. I have seen how a city can come together and celebrate after winning the Stanley Cup. I’ve had that joy, sometimes it was long distance joy, but I’ve had it. We’ve had it.

So I didn’t want the Red Wings to win the Stanley Cup this year for the city, the players, or me. I wanted Stanley back in Hockeytown for my husband, so he could experience it. So he could see the joy, the love, the excitement.

My brother, Paws, and my husband at the Tigers game before game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals.After the game, I went off by myself to collect my thoughts. And it dawned on me, my husband already has the love of hockey and the Detroit Red Wings. He’s been diligently watching just about every game since we arrived in the States in December. He loves the game, he understands the game and he certainly knows how to shout at the refs.

He might not know who Scotty Bowman, Jacques Demers, or Petr Klima are, but he’ll learn. He knows the names of Ted Lindsey, Steve Yzerman, and Gordie Howe. Hell, he met Gordie Howe before game 4 of the Stanley Cup Finals. Gordie asked my husband whose name was on the back of his jersey. My husband replied that in Europe they don’t have names on the back of jerseys—it’s about the team and not the individual—so his jersey didn’t have a name on it. Mr. Hockey liked that answer.

My brother, my husband, Gordie Howe, and myself at Hockeytown.He also has a love of Detroit that I’m very proud of. He’ll defend Detroit and its beauty to anyone. He’s experienced the city and, in the short time that he’s been here, he knows it well. We both have learned about and appreciated the city since our arrival.

Yesterday, we were driving down to the Red Bull Air Race on the Detroit River and my husband, unprovoked, said, "I'm proud to live here." You see, he didn’t need the Wings to bring home the cup. He’s already a true Red Wings fan and a true fan of Detroit. That is what matters.

But, damn, I wish we won the cup!

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Reader Comments (8)

Wow... Incredible!! :)
Thanks for reminding us all of what we have to be proud of. It might take a new comer to bring out the good and see even in the agony of defeat we have tons to be proud of. There is always next year!!

June 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJamie Favreau

What a great post. I was downtown this morning shooting photos and noted how good it was looking and how many people were spending their lunch hour walking along the river. Everyone was making a effort to greet each other. To a person all were friendly. Oh we have problems, lots of them, but we have a big asset. That asset is us.

Go Wings! Go Tigers! Go Detroit! Go Detroiters!!!!!

June 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTim

Thank you Jamie and Tim.
Jamie, Yes, there is always next year and we had a great season!

Tim, It's so nice to hear good things about Detroit. And you're right, our biggest asset is the people of Metro Detroit.

June 15, 2009 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

The first thing I said when I saw Tim's pictures was how nice and clean downtown looked in the photos!
I've posted on a couple of other blogs discussting Detroit and its legendary hospitality towards visitors often gets mentioned. When the Superbowl came here, you heard story after story about from folks in town for the game about how friendly people here were to them. Detroit's biggest asset is, as Tim points out, the people living in the area.

June 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDominique

Tim and Dominique,
It really makes me happy that others see and comment on the friendliness and hospitality of the people of Detroit.

While at the Air Race yesterday, my husband was talking to a guy from Warren who had his daughter on his shoulders. The guy said he didn't normally go down to Detroit but he was happy he did to see the Air Race. The guy drifted off but later came back just to say goodbye to my husband and "nice to meet you". I was amazed that he came back just for that but it proves your point, we have some great people living here!

June 15, 2009 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

Awesome post. I also love www.detroitmoxie.com - As a URL. I didn't know about the tour of RenCen! I will be adding this to My Netvibes RSS feeds!

June 15, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Minni

Thanks John,
It took me ages to pick a URL and this one seemed to suit me and my ideas. I'm not going to be coy, I'm pretty proud of this post and I'm glad you liked it. I also like my RenCen post, so you must have great taste! Thanks for subscribing, I aim to inform Metro Detroiters of what is going on around them, as well as show my love of this place. It's called home and I like it here.

June 16, 2009 | Registered CommenterBecks Davis

Great Detroit article and go WINGS!!! I adore the city of Detroit with all of my heart even though I no longer live there it never leaves me and Go Detroit Lions always!!!

May 20, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMikel

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