It was a great day...
It's June 6th, 2007 and by the end of the night, the Anaheim Ducks would be winners of the Stanley Cup for the 2006/2007 season. They would win it all in 5 games against the Ottawa Senators. Teemu Selanne would be hoisting the Cup above his head with tears in his eyes. As the telly spot shows, no words would be able to describe his feeelings:
It's something that every person in the Ducks nation longs to witness again... soon. On that day, I was at work watching some of the game with other Ducks fans who were also employed at the Disneyland. We were all joyous. I know some who were actually at that wonderful game watching with their own eyes as it all unfolded. Where were you?
Being that today is a special day, I have asked a couple of fellow Ducks bloggers to write their experience on June 6, 2007: Jer from Hockeypunx.com and Jen from Anaheim Calling. They were so cool to accept and here are their stories...
[A Cup and a Concussion]
“Boss, I'm going to need Emergency Time Off today”
“My team is going to win the Stanley Cup.”
“[long pause]... Okay.”
The day the Ducks won the Cup is one that, 3 years later, I still find myself piecing in little bits at a time. I will say that as my story unfolds, I will be making regular mention of drinking. But please keep in mind that I don't mention it in some sort of frat boy, macho “look how much I can fucking drink bro” kind of way. I'm not that kind of guy. I mention it only because, ultimately, it is important to the story.
After securing the day off from my confused manager (I worked the night shift back then), I headed over to a local BJ's Restaurant to watch the game. If I couldn't be at the Ponda, I wanted at least to be around others watching the game. Luckily, there were Ducks fans in full force, and for once a bar was actually allowing some playing time for hockey on their TV's. Uncharacteristically of me, I quickly made friends with everyone sitting up at the bar.
It was only about 4 minutes in when McDonald scored the first goal of the night. With the Ducks up by one, I order a shot of Jager. Because BJ's doesn't keep Red Bull on hand, I drop the shot into what remains of my beer to make a not-so-great Jagerbomb substitute.
My enthusiasm for the game has a few people who weren't initially watching the play asking me questions about the ins and outs of the game. What does icing mean? Are they really just allowed to fight? What are the penalties? I try to tell them as much as I can over some beers while at the same time not losing focus on the game. By the time Rob scores goal number two just before the 1st period closes, they seem genuinely interested in hockey. Improvised Jagerbombs.
At the start of the 2nd period I realize it's probably just about time that my dad is getting off work, which isn't too far from BJ's. I call him up and invite him to come out. Though my dad's not a big drinker, we share some beers and watch some amazing hockey. Having my dad there makes this game somehow even bigger for me. Unlike my dad, I was never much of a sports fan, especially as a kid. But when I was 9 and the Mighty Ducks franchise just popped up in Anaheim my dad, as someone who knew nothing about hockey, decided it might be interesting to learn and get into. We were at the the (Mighty) Duck's very first game together (and many games that season and for many seasons to follow), and for some reason something about hockey just made it stick with this non-sports fans. Here it was 14 years later, and we were together watching that franchise about to take their first Stanley Cup. The moment seemed huge... but maybe I was just feeling a little sentimental after a few too many celebratory improvised Jagerbombs and beers. At this point, the Ducks had scored 3 more goals, and the Sens only 2. The Ducks were leading 5-2, and I had already had too much to drink.
At this time a coworker and friend of mine had gotten off work, and decided to come join my dad and I. I'm sure when my coworker showed up, he realized that he would be taking care of me that night.
Perry scored number 6 shortly before closing the 3rd period, and the Anaheim Ducks bring the first cup to to California. More drinks are shot, and I'm high-fiving everyone in the bar as the cup is passed from Duck to Duck on TV.
My coworker, realizing I was in no condition to drive at this point, decided that the right thing to do was to drive me back to work, so he can watch a drunken me taunt a Kings-fan coworker on his shift. And taunt I did. At least, I'm pretty sure I did. Things get a little fuzzy at this point. My friend starts to realize I might start getting a little too belligerent to be in an office with supervisors around, and that maybe I should cool down for a bit. Knocked Up had just come out, and so we went to see it. It wasn't until a few years later that I saw Knocked Up for a second time, and it was like watching the movie anew – I didn't remember a single thing.
After the movie, I was still clearly intoxicated, so my coworker did the responsible thing: Took me to another bar. This is a bar we used to frequent where everyone knew each other and, surprisingly, there were a few other hockey fans.
Shots were poured and quickly taken care of. This went on for some time. I don't remember much of anything from the bar from this point on, but I do remember at one time walking up to a urinal and puking. There's been very few times I've ever drank enough to puke, and I don't think ever in a public place. Especially in a urinal.
Eventually my coworker took me home. Back then I lived in a gated apartment complex. In my drunken stupor, I was convinced I did not have the keys to get in the gate. I acknowledged the fact that I did in fact have the keys to my home, but I somehow thought that the gate keys were left in my car back in the BJ's parking lot, and not on the same keychain as my home keys as usual. This wasn't the case, but you couldn't have convinced me of that.
Regardless, there was only one solution: Jump the gate. I struggled to pull myself up over the gate, failed, and stumbled backward. This repeated itself a few times. Eventually, the pathetic display had my coworker suggesting he help hoist me over.
I landed with a thud on the other side of the gate, and jumped immediately up to my feet.
“Dude, did you land on your head?”
“No, I'm good, good night.”
As I walked up to my door, I felt like I was losing snippets of time as I walked, and started to get very confused. I must be really drunk, I thought. When I got in the door, I immediately hit my bed (I was too dizzy to stand and the room was spinning a bit too much to do anything else). I fell asleep almost immediately.
When I reluctantly woke up the next day, I found I was still confused, and could barely walk a foot without throwing up. My coworker was calling me. He recapped some of the night and filled in a few of the many missing pieces.
We talked about jumping the gate. He told me I landed (and fell) awkwardly when I jumped to the other side, but it was hard for him to see me in the dark. He asked me again if I had landed on my head. I told him it was absurd, and there was no way.
After we got off the phone, I walked to the bathroom to try and brush my teeth and stand on my feet for more than a minute. When I looked in the mirror, I was a little shocked to see a gash with dried blood crusted to the entire side of my face.
Fuck, I landed on my hand.
Turns out my confusion and dizziness had less to do with the drinking and more to do with the concussion I would later find out that I was suffering from. I basically gave myself a mild form of temporary brain damage in order to celebrate the 2007 Stanley Cup champions.
The biggest question this all raised was, well, damn it... what bodily harm do I do in celebration of their next cup win?
* * * * *
Here's video of game 5's on-ice project intro:
It felt like the longest workday of my life.
Wednesday, June 6th, 2007, the minutes ticked by. A job as an accountant is mundane to be sure, but it’s almost painful when you’re waiting for game time. No one in my office could understand the butterflies of this day. MY TEAM, the team I had followed intensely for the past 12 years was on the verge of taking the biggest prize in professional hockey; however, my Stanley Cup night was probably less exciting than most fans.
Finally released from my cubicle cell, I rushed home, not to a bar, but home, for game time. I chose to watch the game at home with my family, the only people, aside from close friends, that could truly understand my feelings on this night. They knew I lived and breathed Ducks hockey since my dad took me to my first game. They knew I was crushed, crying along with Jiggy back in 2003, when they lost Game 7.
I could barely watch the game. I knew that the Ducks we’re pretty secure in the series up three games to one, but I wasn’t taking anything for granted. I hid my eyes under a blanket most of the game. I was too nervous to watch. It was a good thing my dad had a DVR so we could go back and watch the goals.
Moen secured the win. Perry put it in the refrigerator. Three minutes left, then two, then one. We did it. They did it. My years of suffering through losing seasons had finally paid off - Lord Stanley had come to California.
I choked back tears as Teemu took his lap with The Cup. Of course I wanted this for the organization, but I wanted this for him more. Teemu Selanne is Anaheim Ducks hockey.
So quickly, the coverage was over. I was beaming, though. No one could take away this victory. So proud of my boys, this season, the organization, and Ducks fans everywhere. We deserved this, and I hope that I don’t have to wait long to experience it again.
I close with probably the best quote of the playoffs, from a then 22 year old Ryan Getzlaf. When asked about how it feels to win The Cup, Getzy responded with, “It feels great. We played our balls off.” Amen Getzy, amen.
Let's Go Ducks!