A toast to the long-suffering fan
Of course I want them to win the Cup. But no matter what happens, this run has brought me so much joy.
The above words were spoken by my husband, a lifelong Los Angeles Kings fan. He was watching some video on the Kings’ site when highlights of Jarrett Stoll’s series-winning goal against the Vancouver Canucks flashed by.
I had to smile. Because I totally get what he means.
A little background: Ed grew up in Southern California. He has been a fan of the Los Angeles Kings since the late 1980s/early 1990s. His parents didn’t have cable, so he grew up listening to Kings games on the radio. When he was finally old enough to drive, he’d go and watch games at the Forum. He has dutifully followed his Kings, through good and bad, through living in four different cities and across the country.
He was in high school when the Kings’ magical run to the Stanley Cup final happened in 1993. Luckily, his parents were kind enough to drive him to playoff games at the Forum, so he saw at least three games during that run. (He still has the ticket stubs and the signs from those games.)
He was at the game that came to be known as the Frenzy on Figueroa in 2001. He had flown to L.A. from Tucson (where he was living at the time) just for the game.
When we returned to Los Angeles in late 2011, we attended as many games as we could and put in for a half-season ticket plan next season. I went all in with him on the Kings, as I’d really been more of a casual fan of the team up to that point.
To watch a long-suffering fan light up during a special playoff run is priceless. It’s especially gratifying for me to see it happen for my husband.
We used to joke around in this household about how Ed defines the phrase “long-suffering sports fan.” Ed has been a lifelong fan of both the Kings and the San Diego Chargers. Total championships between them? Zero. Total championship appearances by those teams? Exactly two.
So you can see what this current Stanley Cup playoff run means to him. It’s nice that 20-plus years of undying fandom are finally being richly rewarded.
To watch people weep, watch the frenzy build, watch the longtime fans pinch themselves is always a wonderful thing.
You almost forget to be cynical for a while, and that’s never a bad thing, either.
(Top photo credit: Myself, with an iPhone from way up high at Staples Center on Sunday. )