Whether you’ve become a regular reader of these River Valley Ramblings or are just happening upon these letters I’ve managed to put into a certain order within this space, it’s possible I may owe you an apology.
If you’re not a sports fan, then it’s highly possible I owe you an apology.
If you’re not a hockey fan, then, well, why aren’t you a hockey fan?
So I apologize, but after being a sports writer and sports editor for about 16 years sometimes it’s hard to keep that side of me from busting out like a Mark McGwire moon shot on a hot and humid July afternoon within the shadow of the Gateway Arch alongside the Mighty Mississippi River.
Earlier this month I watched as my beloved St. Louis Blues won their first Stanley Cup since coming into existence in 1967, five years after I was born. A lifetime of hockey futility washed away in one gritty series against a very good — and very favored — Boston Bruins team.
I actually became a fan of the Blues back in the 1970s when a St. Louis kid named Scott Turner moved into our Harrison neighborhood, bringing along with him the idea of Sher-wood sticks sending pucks sliding across the ice and the image of a Blue note across a hockey sweater.
I haven’t been the kind of fan who keeps up with every player and every statistic over the year, but I will watch a hockey game and I do keep up somewhat with the transactions of my favorite team.
I even had, on one occasion, the opportunity to see my Blues play in person and was thrilled in that moment to see the legendary Brett Hull score a goal. It was one of those special moments I’ve yet to forget and never will.
That’s a great thing about sports, especially when it involves our favorite teams. It’s a moment that makes all the bad moments fade into inconsequentiality.
I’m not one of those who believe sports are the be-all, end-all in our lives. I do enjoy watching sports, but I don’t have to have it on the television or my cell phone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. I have my teams that I like to watch, players in particular I like to root for, but I have been known to skip a big sporting event in favor of a movie, cooking show or one of those new living-off-the-grid reality shows.
I guess I’ve become content with what my sports teams have given me over the years. I’ve been fortunate to experience the school pride of my high school alma mater winning state championships in numerous sports. I got to see my favorite football team — the Indianapolis Colts — win a Super Bowl. Of course I also watched them lose one, but that Super Bowl loss is now almost non-existent thanks to the Super Bowl win.
Even though I think the NBA is a huge waste of time, back in the day I rooted for Michael Jordan and saw his fabulous championship run.
I’ve seen (in person) my Razorbacks win a national championship and watched as my St. Louis Cardinals won multiple World Series championships.
And now look what my St. Louis Blues have done.
Even though my sports teams don’t win it all every season, some not winning it all for many, many seasons, I still enjoy rooting for my teams win, lose or draw.
Sports offer us a little bit of an escape from what can be a hectic and sometimes ugly world. And while sports is certainly not the most important thing in the world, it can definitely provide shining moments, interesting side stories and lifelong memories.
Earlier this month I enjoyed watching a team win a championship for the first time in its existence. The fact it was my team made it that much sweeter.
So here’s to sports and the entertaining intermission it provides. Here’s to my teams and here’s to your teams. I hope your teams win every game they play. Except, of course, when they play my teams.
Bennett Horne is the editor of the Press Argus-Courier and Alma Journal. Readers may email him at firstname.lastname@example.org