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shave your butt. • 7 Years Old • Male

Tonight's The Night

Posted 3:07 PM ET | Comments 17
It was the spring of 1987 and I was a 13 year old boy growing up in South Jersey. I was into all the typical things boys my age were into. I played outside, rode my bike, and watched sports on TV. I was particularly fond of football, but I watched my share of baseball. Never much into basketball. I really didn't know much about the sport of hockey. I was aware of it but never got to see it and wasn't brought up in a family of hockey fans. Somehow I stumbled onto the Flyers on TV that spring, and due to what I remember as a magical roller coaster ride of a playoff year, I was hooked. Nothing has been the same for me since.

I don't remember if I caught on during the stretch run to the playoffs or right at the start of the playoffs, but either way I was completely engrossed in the sport with all my heart just about right away. Enough to be completely heartbroken when game 7 of the finals ended with the Flyers on the short end of the stick.

That playoff year was something I'll never forget as long as I live. My next door neighbor (who stumbled onto the sport with me, as we were best friends) and I would spend the entire day getting ready to watch the game that night. It's all we could concentrate on. We would walk or ride our bikes to the supermarket and buy cheap ten cent cans of soda and penny candy and get sick on sugar while watching the game together that night on a small black and white TV in my backyard.

From that point until this point (and surely beyond) hockey has been a huge part of my life and I will watch any hockey game that I find on TV. NHL, AHL, international play, it doesn't matter to me - I just love hockey.

Through all of these years of hockey fanaticism, one thing has held true. There is nothing like NHL playoff hockey. Nothing matches what you see during these spring months.

The playoffs are known as a grind - the old "battle of attrition" cliche. Hockey players are known for their heart - the old "warrior" cliche. But you know what? Those cliches are completely true. Not only that, but it always seems it's in the playoffs where the bizarre happens. You see things in the playoffs, from the players and apparently from the hockey gods, that you just don't see during the regular season.

The playoffs are where you see Darryl Sydor crawling, dragging his seemingly crippled useless leg behind him, to lay his body in front of his net, knowing that he's injured the appendage badly on the play and that the only use he can be to his team is to hope to "block" a shot by laying in the line of fire.

The playoffs are where Paul Kariya gets knocked unconscious by another crushing Scott Stevens check and comes back from the locker room to score a big goal to help force a game 7.

The playoffs are where you see the ridiculous things that you just don't see very often during the regular season, as if the hockey gods know that the world is officially watching now. Glass breaks, sticks get stuck in the boards, shots go in through the side of the net, and players accidentally put pucks off their goalie and into their own net.

The playoffs are where the lights go out in Boston while the Oilers and Bruins are playing.

The playoffs are where the Caps and Isles play overtime periods until the sun comes up.

The playoffs are where it all gets "ratcheted up a notch". It's where not only a player has his game face on, but coaches, GMs, owners, and - yes - fans. Especially fans.

The playoffs are where the buildings are so loud you can't hear the person next to you, it's where your blood boils at a referee's bad call even if you're watching an out of town series that has no bearing on your hometown team.

The playoffs are like nothing else a hockey fan can experience.

The playoffs start tonight.

The ten cent sodas and penny candy may have been replaced by beer and wings, and my Flyers may not play until Friday, but the playoff feeling remains the same as when I was that 13 year old kid just catching the fever.
Filed Under:   playoffs  
April 9, 2008 4:09 PM ET | Delete
Well said, from start to finish! Real fans *do* get taken back to a special place this time of year! Thanks for sharing!
April 9, 2008 4:23 PM ET | Delete
Well done, kicksave. Well done. There is no comparison to playoff hockey. Especially Flyers playoff hockey.
April 9, 2008 4:56 PM ET | Delete
Great blog! You managed to capture both the spirit of those 1987 playoffs and the vibes we hockey fans get at this time of year. Well done!
April 9, 2008 5:03 PM ET | Delete
Excellant Read
April 9, 2008 5:18 PM ET | Delete
If you were in the blogger contest I feel this would win. Great read that reigns true for all fans and ages.
April 9, 2008 5:23 PM ET | Delete
Great stuff, Kick. Nice trip down memory lane, and got me even more excited about the playoffs.
April 9, 2008 8:12 PM ET | Delete
Awesome blog! Playoff hockey is the best in the biz! Even when the flyers weren't in it last year, i still didnt miss a beat. And you def got me more pumped for friday now!
April 9, 2008 8:55 PM ET | Delete
Superior blog, KS. You've certainly set the bar high for yourself. Here's hoping this isn't your "Cochise" haha.
April 9, 2008 10:36 PM ET | Delete
Great job, kick. If I wasn't fully in the mood before, I sure am now. Thanks!
April 9, 2008 11:22 PM ET | Delete
Excellent, Kicks... You have a knack for blogging from deep down, from your emotions. I concur with all before me; a great read that gets one pumped up even more for what we are about to encounter... I visualized all you described and thought what a great voice-over it would be for a promo by Versus or NBC as the playoffs telecasting begins. Let the REAL games begin.
April 10, 2008 9:50 AM ET | Delete
Nice job. Each of us have the memories that keep us as die hard fans. I will take Playoff Hockey over any type of professional sport playoffs any day of the week.
Ty
April 10, 2008 10:48 AM ET | Delete
Excellent blog.
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