Ranger Fans

Hockey Is Life…

by Richard Currao

How do we get on with things like they once were?  For me, it is easy as 3 letters.  N-H-L and N-Y-R.  Hockey.  New York Rangers Hockey.  I need it more than I ever needed it before.  I thought I was starving for it back on August 3rd, when it was 105 degrees out, the Yankees were going to yet another post season and the Rangers were toying with riding the Big Train.  But now, after the atrocities we have seen take place in our red, white, and blue back yard, I am fixing for it like a strung out addict. 

Watching, playing, talking, and reading about hockey are what my child hood was made up off.  An era forever frozen in time that I need to get lost in a bit right now.  It is the sanctuary that my child hood provided that I now long for.  I need that tucked away blanket of security that I hid once under.  We all have one, some just take it out more often than others.  It is the woven fabric of innocence and naivety I lived under while I arranged my Topps hockey cards in alphabetically.  You see, back then my only real worry was if the scratch-off puck was going to wear off and reveal the players name if I handled them too much.  Now that would have been tragic.  That would have been the end of the world.  These days, I have to worry if the building I am in is going to be assaulted.  Ahhhh, to be that age again.

As time goes on, we lose touch with the things that made us feel young, excuse me, sheltered.  I continue to hold 3 things that provide that safe haven.   One of them is hockey.

Hockey hits me in the gut and takes me back to an era of tomfoolery, shenanigans, and carefree living.  Thank you, Hockey.  I will forever be indebted to you for those provisions.  I will always associate your annual arrival with the ghosts of yesteryear.  It is a sort of home coming; a reincarnation of the past.   And when the boys in blue finally hit the MSG ice after a long dank Summer of being choked to death with 162 baseball games, well, it touches a nerve ending that can reach down into the belly of any beast and tickle it.

I have struggled to get through this off-season. I have poorly filled the void left by the Rangers early departure with old video tapes, message boards, and full seasons of Sega NHL Hockey.

But now there is no need for a substitute.  My boys are back and you could not have showed up at a better time, or looked any better.  Truly a site for the sorest of eyes.  Bring me back, boys. Bring me back to when it all seemed to fit just right.  For 3 hours a night, take me away from this place and remind me just what being 9 years old was like again.

I will be at MSG on Sunday October 7th.  I will enter the building, unfamiliarly  cautious and awkwardly anxious.  My heart will be heavy as I realize that I am but a few blocks away from where life seems dead.  With a trembling hand, I will pass my token of admission to the elderly ticket collector.  After it has been torn he will hand it back to me and say, “Enjoy the Game.”

But what I will hear is, “Welcome back.”Damn right.  Welcome back to hockey.  In other words, welcome back to life.

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