Based on suggestions/requests in the Meanwhile thread and elsewhere, I am starting this. Whether it's baseball, football, hockey, boxing, cricket or futbol, about games that were, are or will be, or about memorabilia and nostalgia, pour yourself a beer, place an order for potato skins or wings, and talk up your favorite and least favorite.
Missed the Kings/BlackHawks game tonight due to work, but I see LA won. They look to me like the strongest team in this year's playoffs. I'm pretty much a lifelong Canadiens fan, but I have a hard time imagining anyone from the east beating them (LA) in the finals - or the Black Hawks, for that matter.
My dad was stationed in Texas the year the Cowboys started play, so he was a huge Cowboys fan, and growing up in the 70's with Staubach Dorsett, Ed Too Tall Jones and such I became a fan. Can't stand Jerry Jones, but still like the 'Boys even though they are mediocre at best for the better part of the last 20 years. But it is so fitting that their best defensive player hasn't been able to stay on the field, and this was going ot be the year he did, except today in the first day of OTA's Sean Lee tore his ACL and will now miss the season....
My first sports memories are of the New York Mets in the early-to-mid 1960s. I went to a few games at Shea Stadium. The first one, the Mets lost to the Dodgers with Sandy Koufax pitching. I got heavily into baseball statistics and trivia in 1965-66, and still remember some facts & figures from that year. The 1969 Miracle Mets were my focus that summer; that's when my 2-year hiatus from comics started.
In the same time period I also started paying attention to football - it was the Joe Namath era in New York - basketball, Willis Reed & co. - and because my father was particularly interested in hockey, the New York Rangers.
Later on, in my senior year of college, I latched on to the Rangers games shown on channel 9 and hockey in general as my escape from the pressures of life. I remained a hockey fan for a couple of decades. As a nearly lifelong New Jerseyan, I was delighted when the Devils moved in, but it still took a few years and the trading of some of my favorite players for me to shift my enthusiasm from the Rangers to the Devils. When I moved to Massachusetts I watched the Bruins of course, even went to a game at the old Boston Garden. But I wasn't there long enough for it to really sink in. Ditto with southern California; I went to opening day at Anaheim Stadium for the Angels and was a season-ticket holder for the first year of the Mighty Ducks, but after that year I moved to Portland.
Portland had one major-league team - the Trail Blazers of the NBA. I hadn't paid much attention to basketball since the Willis Reed era, and didn't know a pick-and-roll from a Kaiser roll. So it took several years to adapt. I tried to continue following the NHL but it just took too much extra effort. What finally did it for me was when the Blazers acquired Damon Stoudamire in a trade. He grew up in Portland and attended a high school that I drive past every day. Even if I didn't know the game, I could follow the story of a player coming home to play for the team that he had idolized as a boy. So, Damon's introduction to the Blazers became my introduction to them as well.
Now, Damon Stoudamire is a coach in Memphis and I've been a rabid Blazers fan for more than a decade. I still have residual affection for all the other teams I mentioned, but the Blazers are the only ones I really follow.