This year the Hawks only play the Stars three times, twice in Dallas and once in Chicago. We chose this date because it was first game of the season for both teams and the home opener for the Stars. Can’t beat that. Originally four of us were planning to go. But at the last-minute, our friend Kacey (a fellow Hawks fan) had to back out because his boss wouldn’t give him the time off from work. SUCKS!! We all have work, but somehow Jeannie, Chris, and I made it work. My boss already knows what a freak I am about my teams, so she’s actually super cool about giving me time off for my games. I know I’m very lucky in that respect. Jeannie and I drove up to Dallas that afternoon. We got there in time for some food and a little power nap before the game. We got to American Airlines Center at about 7ish.
Before we headed in, I had to grab this picture. Once again there were a lot of Hawks fans at the game. In our section we had Stars fans around us and I told Jeannie, just wait till I scream for the first time for the Hawks…I’m sure someone will give me a look. Before the game actually started the guys skated around the ice to warm up. I only took one photo since we were so high up.
But I was super excited for the game to start. The Stars had an elaborate opening ceremony which was pretty cool. The only part I didn’t like too much is that they never even acknowledged that they were playing against the Blackhawks. I was like…hello??? Oh well, we put them in their place for that. Chris hadn’t arrived yet because he left work at around 5 to come to Dallas. Austin is about a 3 hour drive, but he cruised, so he made it in less. He missed the whole first period, but he didn’t miss much till the very end. The Hawks got off to a VERY slow start. They only had 3 shots on goal by the end of the first. But luckily one of those shots included a sweet goal by Duncan Keith!! The second period was more of the same. Chris made it just as the first period ended. I had been fairly quiet before he got there, but as soon as he sat down the shit-talk commenced. That was until the second period started. For some reason the Hawks had a very hard time getting out of their end. It was more about defense for most of the game. But I had a feeling of dread. When I’m at a game and my boys are playing bad, I get very quiet. And thank GOD Crawford was so amazing. He kept us in the game, for sure!!
1st Star of the game
The other player that got off the most shots was Sharp. He just couldn’t get them in the net. I remember saying during the game, “Keep hitting ’em, Sharpie…eventually you’ll get one in.” And thank god, in the the third period, he scored the tying goal. MAN! I was on my feet screaming when he tied that game. But believe me, I feared that OT. My two worst moments in hockey are overtime and shootouts. And here I am at my first Hawks game of the season and I have to endure overtime. And then nobody scored!! So I was freaking out because now it was shootout time and I was so unsure of how this would play out. Let’s just say Kaner was the hero of this shootout and the only player from either side to score!!
His amazing goal led to the Hawks first win of the season. I was super happy!! I loved hearing all the Hawks fans screaming “Let’s go Hawks” in the halls of the arena after the game. Of course I had to join in. The Stars fans didn’t look too happy, but who cares. HAWKS WON!!!
This lonely picture of a disconsolate Crawford epitomizes what all Blackhawks fans felt when, with 6 seconds left in Game Two of their First Round playoff series against the St. Louis Blues, the Blues scored to tie up the game…again. Not only did they score a late third period goal in Game One to tie up the game, but the fans and, of course, the players had to endure another 3 periods, essentially another game, only to see the Blues score the winning goal in OT 3. That game was a heartbreaker. So when they tied it late…AGAIN, I really lost it. I started screaming and pounding on my desk. I literally cleared my cats out of the room. They had no idea why their crazy mom was freaking out, but they definitely weren’t sticking around to find out. I just couldn’t believe it. They had the game. They had both of those games. Who was this team on the ice allowing the opposing team to score so late in the game? This couldn’t be the Stanley Cup Champions. NO WAY!! But unfortunately, it was and IS!!! When the Blues scored the winning goal pretty quickly in the first overtime, I was just so let down. I couldn’t watch any more hockey for the day. I turned my attention to Day One of the NBA playoffs. My BULLS weren’t playing their first game till the next day, so I thought I’d enjoy the competition between the first four match-ups. Most of the games were pretty great. In fact, 3 of 4 of the road teams took home wins. While I thought that was pretty awesome, it also made me more nervous since my boys were the ones playing at home the next night. I really didn’t need another reason to be nervous. I was truly hoping that my boys would come out strong and make me proud. But the Wizards quickly showed that they came to play. One of their toughest covers, Nene, was back and unstoppable. Jo just couldn’t control him. And Nene in effect took Jo out of his game. The refs were calling fouls left and right and in both the first and second quarters the BULLS got in the bonus early. There were over 50 free throws taken all game between both teams. That’s kind of ridiculous!!!! Nonetheless, the Wizards played better defense, showing up one of the best defensive teams in the league. My boys also managed to blow an all important 13 point lead in the third quarter. I literally felt like I was on a roller coaster throughout the whole game. I was nauseous and depressed by the end when they lost. In that moment, I swore that I wasn’t going to watch any more playoff games by either team. I still feel sick to my stomach about how both of these series have started. After devoting so much time this year to watching all of their regular season games, seeing how the playoffs are rolling out is such a letdown. I know I can’t NOT watch them play. But at the same time, I don’t want to be disappointed either. I am so emotionally invested in these teams, especially the BULLS, that it’s mentally and physically (yes I feel SICK) draining when they don’t perform as I expect them to. Maybe I shouldn’t watch sports if I don’t have the stomach for it. Maybe I shouldn’t take it all so seriously. Easier said than done. Either way, I always feel this way after any loss. I think to myself, ‘I’m not wasting my time anymore.’ Usually by the next day, I’ve shaken off the loss and of course I’ll watch them play the next game. I have to support my guys…NO MATTER WHAT!! That’s always been my motto. And while that will continue to be my motto, I just wish I was able to shake off these losses. This time it’s taking me much longer to shake them off. I hope that’s not a sign of what’s to come. I really need a win! I really do!!
This photo captures the frustration that BULLS fans felt about the game and the joy Wizards fans must have been feeling!
When the Blackhawks first began their run for the Stanley Cup in the 2012-13 season, I wasn’t even watching hockey. But when I attended a BBQ at my friend’s house for Memorial Day, I found myself sitting down to watch a MUST-WIN Game 6 of the second round against the Red Wings. I knew Detroit was a major rival which made me very interested in the game. I sat in between two strong hockey fans, a Hawks fan (Kacey) and a Stars fan (Chris). It was an exciting game. And the guys I watched with taught me a lot about the game’s rules that I had never understood. And of course, because the Hawks won, all my superstitious Chicago friends told me that I HAD to keep watching because obviously I was good luck. HA! Well, I take sports superstition very very seriously, so I stayed true to my word and did not miss another game. In fact, a couple of weeks later, I actually went to Chicago and had the privilege of watching games with Chicago fans. That made me even more excited about this game & about this team. When I came back to Austin, the Hawks were 4 games away from their second Stanley Cup in 4 years. Now that’s some good stuff! The night after I got back from my trip, I met up with a group of friends in Austin to watch Game 3 of the Finals against Boston. The two guys that had coached me during the BBQ were there, but unfortunately the Hawks lost. During this game, we all decided that it would be a great idea to make a road trip up to Dallas during the next season to catch a Hawks/Stars game. It sounded like a great time. So when the regular season schedule came out, I picked out a few options for all of us to choose from and we landed on this date. Of course, most of us sports fans like to bet on our teams. And now that my team was the reigning champs, I was more than willing to make a fun bet against my friend, Chris’ team. His terms were that if the Hawks won, he would take a photo in a Blackhawks sweater and make it his Facebook cover photo. Of course if the Stars won I would have to do the same. I was very confident in my team, so I agreed immediately to this bet. I was so excited to catch my second Hawks game ever. Now that I was into the game and knew the players, it actually meant something to me. We didn’t have the best seats, but we did face the players benches. So that was cool. It was a very exciting game. The Stars scored first. We followed up pretty quickly with a tying goal. Neither team scored again in the first period. The second period was pretty much the same. The Stars scored again and not too long after we tied it up…again! But finally, the Hawks broke up the monotony and scored a nice goal with less than two minutes left in the 2nd period. YESS!! Hawks up 3-2. The third period was when it all fell apart for the Stars. In their effort to tie up the game, they left their net empty to make a late push. That backfired when the Hawks made a 200 foot slapshot goal. The Stars didn’t leave their net empty again, but the Hawks managed to score one more time within seconds of the 4th goal to make it 5-3. And that was pretty much it. HAWKS WON!! I WON!! And this was what ended up on Chris’ cover:
Gotta love THAT!! Thanks to my friend Kacey for lending him his Patrick Sharp sweater! It was a great game and a great time with friends! Can’t wait to do it again next year!!