Fall and Spring are my favorite seasons,
but most of all I enjoy the Fall. I love it when the heat and
humidity of Summer makes way for those crisp and clear mornings.
The leaves change color, and start to drop to the ground, letting us
know that Winter is not far behind. Thanksgiving is my favorite
holiday, but could be better than eating lots of food and watching
football (and in recent years hockey) on the TV. But most of
all...I love the start of the hockey season.
My first real experience with the Rangers
and the NHL was only back in 1996. I had recently moved to New
York, and a friend of mine (a rabid Rangers and hockey fan) convinced me
to come along and watch a game at MSG. As it turned out Wayne
Gretzky lead a late third period comeback by the Rangers and the rest
was history...I was hooked.
Each year my interest in hockey and the
Rangers gradually increased. I am a sports fan at heart, and have
a trail of teams that I still follow from my birth country New Zealand
(Go Magpies!) through Australia (Go Broncos!) and the various places
I've lived in the United States (Go Bears!, Go Rangers!).
Ultimately though, in the Rangers I found a far-flung group of
passionate and loyal like-minded individuals.
Being a fan of the Rangers is like
joining a club, or being part of a community. The simple act of
donning the blue jersey, a Ranger cap or going to the game,
automatically unites you with thousands of others who you'd barely
acknowledge in any other situation. The unsolicited "RANGERS!"
call from a stranger, the honking of horns as people drive by and the
slight nod of the head in enemy territory prove that you are part of the
club...you are a Ranger fan.
During my brief tenure as a Ranger fan I
have experienced like many of you, what it's truly like to be a fan.
The past decade has been one of tremendous highs and lows, with an
emphasis on the lows. We've seen more names on the backs of Ranger
jerseys in the past ten years than probably any decade of Rangers hockey
prior. Many of those names have been famous, even if their
performances have not always been so.
Since moving out of New York City, my
interest in following the team has continued to grow. It hasn't
been as easy to get to games at MSG as it once was, so I have instead
turned my attention to attending games on the road and I'm proud to say
that I've now seen the Rangers play in New Jersey, Boston, Pittsburgh,
Detroit, Washington and Philadelphia...of and of course San Juan, Puerto
Outside the Garden has also grown in that
time. Initially conceived out of the ashes of a former Rangers
site that closed down, OTG has grown to be what it is today. Yes,
I do spend way too much time here, but for me it is well worth it to
share the in the passion for a team and sport that you all do too.
So as we head into a 2006-07 season
filled with hope and expectation, I raise a toast to you my fellow
Rangers fans, and to the 2006-07 New York Rangers!