Note: This topic is about the author’s home town of St. Louis and is off topic.
The first clue that I had arrived on a historic weekend happened at the local Target store.
“Are you looking for chairs for the parade?” asked the young woman with a ponytail.
“Yes, we wanted to get an extra chair for my parents.”
“It’s going to be amazing — what a great day for St. Louis!”
After surveying the options, we finally settled on a twelve dollar fold-out chair that seemed pretty lightweight.
Ten minutes later, we rolled into the driveway of my childhood home.
We visited my parent a mere seven months earlier. We hadn’t planned to come back so soon. After all, the drive is over 12 hours long.
But when I heard the parade was on Saturday, I convinced my husband to make the trek with me. My dad grew up in St. Louis as a huge sports fan. Back when the St. Louis Blues first debuted in 1967, my father bought season tickets. He and my mother attended Stanley Cup championship games, never even seeing the hometown team win.
Back then, St. Louis, Oakland and Los Angeles brought hockey to cities west of the Mississippi. Unlike recent cities who lobbied for a professional hockey team, St. Louis had no interest in a hockey team. The National Hockey League decided they would put a team in St. Louis because they had an existing arena that could host games.
So began the journey. A 52-year old journey that would end in joy this past Wednesday, June 12, 2019.
Over the years, I became interested in hockey. I’ve always liked skating, learning to ice skate on a frozen pond on a golf course near my parent’s house. The fast pace of players whizzing up and down the ice enticed me.
I began to avidly follow my hometown team, The St. Louis Blues. But despite great hopes, the season would always end in heartbreak. One year, my Blues finished with the best record in the league, only to fail in the first round. It just seemed my Blues were always destined to fall short.
I always thought that if they were to come through, it would be in a very strange, unexpected way. The early part of the season seemed bleek. The team kept losing, and plummeted to the bottom of the standings.
So when the team started to turn around the season in January, I said rather innocently to my husband:
“Wouldn’t it be weird if this were the year they finally won the Stanley Cup?”
Week after week through the playoffs, they persevered. They would suffer a terrible loss, only to come back stronger and more resilient the next game. Finally, on June 12, the team pulled off the ultimate feat of toughness, winning Game 7 and the Stanley Cup.
At 85 years old, I had begun to despair that my father would die before seeing his hometown team win sport’s ultimate prize. But they had done it. Wanting to share in seeing the celebratory parade together, we made the trip and spent the day celebrating our hometown team.
The memory of witnessing this joyful spectacle with the man who helped me love the sport. Priceless.