Friday, April 16, 2010

Where My Ladies At?

(How I Became a [Female] Hockey Fan)!
I'm not exactly what many may consider a "normal" Pens fan. I'm what you would call an "obsessive" Pens fan. My side of my shared dorm room is little less than a Pens shrine. Posters, pictures, season schedules, a Pens pillow I painted, my rally towel on the window, and a stuffed penguin named Max. But I can't say it's always been like this as much as I'd like to.

I first got into hockey when I was about 6. My friend who lived across the street played on a youth team and my best friend and I would see him playing while we were playing in our front yards. It was one day while we were sitting in my driveway drawing with chalk that he called us over. He wanted to shoot on someone, but didn't have a goalie or teammates. So we thought, "Why not?" and went to play with him. I'd never touched a hockey stick before. I'd heard Mario Lemieux's name from the '92 cup run 3 years earlier and I knew about the Penguins, but I really didn't know hockey. That afternoon proved to be a starter in my love of the game.

We played for hours. Jamie and I took our turns as Justin's linemate and goalie until we all got called home from various front porches. From that night on, I was hooked. When my mom asked if I wanted to play any sports, I said hockey. But she wouldn't let me because she couldn't find a girls' league and didn't want the "boys beating on me". So I played soccer instead, the closest variation I could find. I was still a little bruiser, getting yellow cards and the occasional red cards. I tried to throw my first punch after having my nose broken in a playoff game. (My mom now says she wishes she would have just let me play hockey.)

I loved hockey week in gym class. I loved playing in my guy friends' driveways. I just didn't have enough patience to watch a game on tv and my dad didn't like hockey enough to take me to games. I followed what I could until we moved to NW PA when I was in 7th grade. Hockey was a myth up there. In the triangle of Browns, Steelers, and Bills territory, football was all that mattered. I watched football with my dad, but I missed hockey.

When I started hearing about Sidney Crosby and the buzz that the Pens might leave the Burgh, I started following the Pens more online. Then we got Sid in the draft and there was hope again. But the local paper started carrying less and less about hockey. So I lost contact with the Pens for way too long.

I moved back to the Pittsburgh area for college last fall and I was able to follow the Pens all last season. I got back into hockey in full force, driving my friends and family insane. I went to as many rush games as time and money would permit. I went to the big screen for game 4 of the final. And I went to the parade and nearly passed out. It was all worth it for the hugs and high fives I received from Max, Jordan, TK, Hal Gill...and the blown kiss from Marc-Andre Fleury for the sign I had for him.

I love hockey more than anything now and I'm looking into playing for a rec league ASAP. And the best part of those soccer years? I had the same number and position as my favorite player. I was my teams best goalie and I wore #29. I <3 Marc-Andre Fleury.
I'm not sure I wouldn't call you a "normal" fan, but then again ... what IS "normal?"  I love the fact that you got into hockey because the boy next door wanted to shoot with someone in the net and that you and your friend were willing to do it ... that's pretty cool!!  It's awesome that you have those kinds of memories and I'm really glad you decided to share your story with us ... THANKS, Kiley!!

Don't forget, if you wish to submit your story, I kindly ask that you
email them directly to me so they don't end up being repetitive for some of the readers. Also, if you don't want me to include your name, please let me know that as well (what I'll normally do is put your first name and last initial if I have it OR just your screen name).


I also want to let you know I LOVE these stories (and so do alot of our readers) - I've always found it interesting no matter who the fan, so I'm enjoying ALL OF THIS IMMENSELY!! KEEP THEM COMING, but I ask that you
email them please - THANKS!!!

Also, I ask that you please BE PATIENT as I'm still receiving TONS of stories (they'll be posted in the order I received them, to be fair). If you sent in a story, it will eventually be on the blog - I promise!! ; ) JUST BE SURE TO KEEP THEM COMING (the more the better!)!!


aBurghGirl said...

Awesome story, sounds like we had a bit in common with playing hockey.

MyDearestObsession said...

True story: I have a stuffed penguin named "Max". =]