Tuesday night was a night you prepare for. First Place Islanders at White Hot Rangers. A game like that required the finest vestments worn to work; new Isles hat, new Isles tie, Isles underwear (before you cringe, don’t tell me you didn’t get 2-for-$5 flannel boxers at a Coliseum Draft party).
Spent the day talking standing glory with Capitals fans, to which not all of my positive sentiments were reiterated. My couch was to be my throne from 7pm to 9:45pm. I picked up some Blue Point Hoptical Illusion to have every karmic element covered.
And then I missed the first period. My son had his four month checkup that day (everything is A-OK!) and we had to go pick up some recommended items for the young Isles fan. Including a new one…new food.
We got home during first intermission and set ourselves up for dinner, all three of us. North Carolina barbecue for us and solid food for him. We don’t remember the second period because our little boy was growing up before our eyes with his first solid food. Hockey had no meaning in those moments. I didn’t have a favorite SPORTSBALL team, they didn’t have a mortal enemy. It was neither winter nor snowing out, and we had no concern for the dishes we’d have to do. Our son had received a clean bill of health and was taking his next step to being a little person.
We were parents, not sports fans, that night. Family was the priority.
I spent the last day and change thinking about writing this. My wife encouraged it. In the back of my head I thought about Andy Graziano from Islanders Insight and his son the Rangers fan. Andy told a story on the podcast about the Kings beating the Rangers to win the Stanley Cup and how it did not make him feel the joy he thought he would feel. His young son’s favorite team lost and he found himself experiencing the same hurt as his son. Because family is bigger than laundry rivalries in sports.
On Wednesday I found myself back in a familiar spot of enjoying a shutout of the Rangers in the Garden. It didn’t compare to the prior night’s emotions but it was one that I could find time for again. What’s great about sports is the escape from the daily, but some days trump everything else. I’ll watch many, many Islanders games with my family but I’ll miss a goal if it means I will be there for any of my son’s firsts.