(How I Became a [Female] Hockey Fan)!
Well, first of all, I'm a Pittsburgh girl born and raised. I attended my first Steeler game at about 1 month old and my dad would give me play by plays of the Pens games in utero. It drove my mother crazy. My father, a huge sports fan of Irish descent also got us started watching and playing soccer and hockey early in life. From the time I was a toddler, I was fascinated by hockey, and used to sit in front of the TV for hours during games and cry when someone turned off a game (any game, not just a Pens game). I attended my first game when I was 5, and as I watched Lemieux and Jagr fly up and down the ice, I knew I would always be a hockey fan. Through the years, I continued to follow the Penguins, even when they weren't having such great seasons. One year, I went to over 20 home games because tickets were so cheap. Even though they were awful, I still loved watching them.This is a picture of Maureen and her dad at a game this past fall against the St. Louis Blues. She says, "It was the first time I got to take him to a game and it was an awesome experience."
My best hockey memory was going early to games with my dad and watching them practice. For my 7th birthday, I got hockey tickets (or course), and we went early to watch the Pens warm up. My dad worked security at the Igloo while in college and knew a lot of the ushers and security. He mentioned to an usher he knew that it was my birthday. After practice, Mario Lemieux skated over to the runway and before heading into the locker room, handed me his stick, and said "Happy birthday Maureen, enjoy the game". That sealed my fate as a die-hard Penguins fan. The Penguins are such class organizations that I can't help but love them on and off the ice. I learned to skate when I was young. I don’t get to play hockey as much as I used to, but I still love it. One of my best Christmas presents this year was a new pair of Bauer hockey skates.
As I've grown up and played hockey, I realize the skill and intensity it requires, and have mostly dodged the "puck bunny" label thanks to my knowledge of the sport. I know more than most guy friends of mine who consider themselves hockey fanatics. Amazingly, even though I still play on a semi-regular basis, some insist that I only like the sport because of the attractive guys. I have scrimped and saved to attend as many games as possible, and I keep a close eye not only on the Penguins news, but news around the league. I credit my dad with my intense interest in hockey, from the first game he took me to, I was hooked. This year, I got to surprise my dad with tickets to a game for the first time, and while we shared wings and beer; instead of M&M’s and pop, the conversation and the memory of the game is still just as meaningful. Hockey has given me a lot of quality time with my dad that I wouldn’t have had otherwise, and even though we don’t always see eye to eye, hockey gave us common ground even through my tough teenage years.
So yes, I’m a huge hockey fan, who happens to be female. I love the sport for all the things it has given me. I have amazing memories of time with my dad when I was little, and the love of my life. The Pens are really special to me because some of the best moments of my life happened around the Igloo. I’m so happy that I have such great memories of the Igloo and I’m glad that I was exposed to hockey so young, who knows where I would be otherwise?
Another great story about a girl and her dad - it's a special thing and can't get any better than that!! THANKS for sharing such a personal story, Maureen, and I'm so glad you were able to bond with your dad through the Pens ... how lucky can a girl get?!!!
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