In case any of you have forgotten what happened a year ago today…. the Boston Bruins turned the page of history. They defeated the Vancouver Canucks in game seven of the finals to bring home the Stanley Cup. The team had fought through injuries and three seven game series to get their first chamionship in thirty nine years. Most of the media and the professional analysts had predicted that the Canucks were going to beat the Bruins that year.
Let me tell you about that day. I was working that day *chuckle*. When in doubt, I’m usually working. My good friend told me that he and his girlfriend were meeting up at Snooker’s (a local restaurant/bar/pool hall), and he invited me to join them. We got there to find nearly every table reserved. We were able to get sat at the bar, occupying the last four stools on the far left against the corner. All in all, we had a good view of the big screen TVs. Everyone was wearing the black and gold. I was wearing the first piece of sports merchandise I had bought since getting a Boomer Esiason shirt.
The game starts, and everyone in our group is a little nervous. My friend is worried that the B’s will let him down, his girlfriend is worried that he’ll be let down. For my own part, I had told that friend at the end of Game 5 about my connection with the whole Bruins saga. I was born a lot smaller than my brothers back in September ’71. The doctors were not sure if I was going to live to see a year old, and the doctors had encouraged my parents to take me home so I could die there. For those few who don’t know, that was the season that the Bruins last won the Cup. The last time the Bruins had gotten to the finals, I was a senior graduating high school. I had told my friend this and I had stated that I wasn’t a fan of the Bruins back then…. but I was one now, and that they were going to win. I had said it in a ‘ Moses on the mountain’ type way, and I was worried that if they didn’t pull through I was going to look rather stupid.
What a game it was. Patrice Bergeron scored the first goal. The place went bonkers. Bergeron got an assist from my favorite player, Brad Marchand. First period ends. First two rounds of drinks are in the books and so are the appatizers. We’re still running the gambit from nervous to vibrating. Second period starts. The Honey Badger/Little Ball of Hate/Marshmont (the list of nicknames is extensive) scores a goal. Marchand’s goal is assisted by Dennis Seidenberg and Mark Recchi (Recchi’s last point as a Bruin and a NHL player). It’s 2-0. We’re excited. We add another round of drinks to the festivities.
In all great events, you have that moment where you stop believing that something is going to happen. That belief morphs itself into knowing it WILL happen. The Canucks had a power play, and the Bruins were playing very tight defense. Then, the moment happened. Bergeron gets the puck and scores a short handed goal. Seidenberg got himself another assist along with Gregory Campbell. It’s 3-0. You could actually hear and feel the Vancouver fans deflating. I swear a good piece of that energy ended up with us at that bar. The second period ends, and the crowd is actually feeling the moment with me.
Third period. Timmy Thomas has ceased being human at this point. He is now a bulwark of black, white, and gold. The Bruins are going to do it, the Bruins are going to win. The Canucks pull their goalie. Marchand gets an unassisted empty netter. 4-0! Last two minutes, last thirty seconds, and its over… They won. The place lets out a collective cheer. It’s hard to put into words that exact moment. The closest definition I have is to be literally smothered in joy. It was a tangible, real thing that night. It was a magical expierence for me. My friends are equally overwhelmed.
That day will always be with me. June 15th will be an anniversary day for me for the rest of my life. The men of the 2010-2011 Boston Bruins team made a believer out of a former sports atheist. As an ordained minister, I can tell you from first hand expierence…..it’s good to believe.