I think I was in 6th grade the first time I met Nathan King. He was my first crush. He was the most beautiful person I'd ever seen in my entire life. I was in love in a 6th grade kind of way. I found out he played hockey, so I decided I should like hockey. To my fortune, my dad and uncle were taking me to a hockey game. Even better, they had an extra ticket. I, of course, called Nathan King and invited him to go with me. I don't know if I even talked to him the whole night. I don't remember much about it at all.
The next day, I asked my older brother (who was Nathan's friend---that's how I knew Nathan) if he'd said anything about me at school. My brother let me know that Nathan said, "Your sister doesn't know anything about hockey, does she?" Well I never! At that point, I determined I was going to learn the game. The Nathan crush eventually dissipated (it took some time!), but I gained a love for hockey. I fell in love with the game.
It was the early 90's and the Detroit Red Wings weren't that great of a team, but they were the home team, so I began to follow them religiously. My uncle had season tickets, so on occasion, I'd be able to go to live games. When I couldn't go to games, I'd sit in front of the tv or next to the radio, vigorously taking stats of every play that happened. I was weird. :) As the 90's went on, the Red Wings ended up being a great team. They won the Stanley Cup in 1997 and 1998.
Sergei Fedorov was my favorite player throughout all of this. He was amazing. I was able to get his autograph a couple times, and I was pretty sure I'd just die, being in his presence. Teenage girls are weird. I was weird. I think I said that already. One time Sergei Fedorov scored all 5 goals in the game, including the game-winner in overtime. I was at that game, and I'm pretty sure it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
Fedorov ended up being traded at some point, and I had moved to Florida, and my love for hockey kind of died away. It was a matter of distance, really. The deep passion was still there, but separation had not made the heart grow fonder.
I later replaced my hockey love with baseball love, and that love story continues today. But a couple weeks ago, my younger brother called to tell me some amazing news. Sergei Fedorov (who'd been to Anaheim and Columbus) had been traded to the Washington Capitals. All that leads to today, where I'm sitting on my couch on a Sunday afternoon, watching Sergei Fedorov play hockey for a team I cheer for. It's thrown me back into some happy times, mentally.
It really doesn't take much to make me smile. I'm simple like that. Hockey love is back.