In 2002 the New Market Rebels won the Valley League Championship. I was fourteen. I don’t remember much of the final game, but I remember the last out. The Covington Lumberjack batter grounded to our short stop, Chad Hill (I called him “Cat Bat”,) who made the easy throw across to our New Mexican Cub-fan first baseman Chris Alexander. And then, all joy broke loose! I really liked baseball at the time, and I was very fond of the team (as evidenced by my endowment of such silly nicknames as “Cat Bat”) but I wasn’t head-over-heels yet. I was excited, but not yet involved or informed enough to fully appreciate what had happened. Nevertheless, a little spark was ignited that evening. Come 2003, I was all in, and my passion for the game has been growing ever since.
I am sure I’ll never love hockey as much as baseball, but I think that the 2010 Chicago Blackhawks (with a bit of help from Team USA and the Washington Capitals) have fanned my little hockey spark in the same way that the ’02 Rebels fanned my little baseball spark. I was elated throughout the Stanley Cup finals, and especially last night (obviously.) I know it isn’t possible for me to appreciate or enjoy it quite as much as all the awesome folks who have been dedicated Hawks fans for years and years, and that’s OK. I know that I enjoyed it as much as a baby hockey fan could.
It was a strange feeling that passed over me last night. I was trying to go to sleep, and couldn’t get over it. I’m not used to teams I root for winning things. After the tears of joy subsided I didn’t know how to act! I’ll take it, though. I’ll take it!
I’ll just close with my heartfelt congratulations and thanks to every last member of the Chicago Blackhawks organization. And to all the Chicago fans, who are just a million different kinds of awesome: Air fives! You guys deserve this. I may be in Virginia, but my heart is in the Windy City and I love you all!