(How I Became a [Female] Hockey Fan)!
My Dad has played hockey from when he was a little kid, through high school, and even now on adult, street hockey leagues. Since I am an only child and my Mom has zero interest in hockey, he needed someone to bond over the sport with him and started to take me to Pens games when I was 7. Thanks to his job, he would get season tickets and surprise me all of the time with hockey tickets, even in the middle of the week. Those nights of driving into Pittsburgh with him, just the two of us and sharing peanuts together at the games remain such an important part of my childhood. I'll never forget how cold walking up the hill to Mellon Arena is or how slippery it can be either. I remember not really understanding the game at first but loving every minute of it just because it meant one-on-one time with my Dad when he would talk defensive strategy with me (even though I had no clue what he was talking about).
It didn't take me long to start loving the game though. Watching games on TV is still fun but being in the crowds is like no other feeling. I LOVED getting there early and watching the team warm up and flick pucks at the fans. I was also a little too interested in the fighting and brutality of the game. I would actually sit and hope that a fight would happen because it always gave the team a boost of morale.
This was all during the late 90's and so I remember the good old days of Darius Kasparaitis kicking the crap out of people and Kovalev moon-walking after a hat trick. (Kasparaitis was actually my first favorite player). I was also there, when Mario first came back to the game and scored a goal less than 30 seconds after hitting the ice. We even have a picture of that goal framed in my house because you can see my Dad and I in the background freaking out together.
So I guess my Dad was the original reason that I fell in love with hockey. I already idolized him so it was natural for me to want to love something that was important to him. However, as I've grown up and moved away from Pittsburgh to go to college, hockey has been something that ties me back to my family and the city that I love so much. It's special to me because I know how much the Pens organization appreciates it fans and that I know first hand how the game can become a central part of a relationship between two people. Plus, above all else, hockey is the most fun game to watch in person OR on TV.
RachelThis is a really touching storing ... the bond between a girl and her "daddy" is one of the most precious and what a wonderful thing to bond over (it reminds me of me and my dad although our connection was basketball and his teaching me how to play for the girls team in high school --- I'm an only child too, so I was the only one he could pass down his interest to!)!! Those players bring back memories too ... LOVE both Kasparitis and Kovy (I just read an article about his doing the moonwalk not to long ago!)!! Thank you SO MUCH for sharing such a personal story, Rachel!!
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