Ok, time for me to take a shot at this.
My dad was the one who got me into hockey. He loved any kind of sport and was thrilled when the Bay Area got another shot at hockey. I was hooked from the moment I sat down to watch my first game with him. I've been a Sharks and
They say that youth is wasted on the young and I was no exception. All I can really remember from those days are flashes of the Ov line, Jamie Baker taking it to the Wings, and Owen Nolan calling his shot at the ASG. I really should have paid more attention, but I still loved it. We'd go to games when we could. One of my dad's coworkers had season tickets and my dad bought as many as he could from him. My finaticism at that time probably peaked when I set up what was for all intents and purposes a shrine to Arturs Irbe.
Then enter my hockey dark ages. I kind of drifted away from the game in high school. I'm not really sure how that happened, but it did. Then it was off to college in New Orleans. That's when the withdrawal pains started. Louisiana is not hockey country at all. One of my roommates was an Avs fan and so we suffered together. We took over one of the common rooms in our dorm for the '04 playoffs and it was fantastic, despite the Calgary series I actually got to see some hockey. We didn't get any more until the winter olympics when we watched every game we could, men's and women's. You know you're a hockey starved hockey fan when you put your hand through a light fixture when the USA women score an early goal in a first round game that they would go on to win something like 7-2. (That was my roommate not me.) At least I was down there for the lockout. Means I didn't miss much that season since every season was pretty much blacked out for me anyway.
When I got back to the Bay Area after graduation I started going to as many games as I could. I had to make up for lost time. I was at the Tank every chance I could get with my dad, friends, anyone who would go with me. Team Teal was back into my life full time and things were good.
Then two years ago we lost my dad to a cardiac event. The time when he was in the hospital was the hardest thing I've been through in my life. He had bought tickets for a game along center ice to take my brother and I to. I needed to get away from things so I took a friend, my brother didn't want to go anymore, and went figuring at least they wouldn't go to waste. I can't tell you who they played or what the score was, but for a couple of hours there things were ok. I went to several games during that time and the energy of the game really made things better for a little while at least. They were the best kind of distraction I could have gotten.
The Sharks helped me through the worst time of my life. I think that's really what made me the fan I am today. I've always loved this team and this game since '91, but that year really put me among the true diehards. I guess it's partly my way of paying them back. I'll bleed teal till the day I die.
Last season a friend and I bought every 3 game pack and as many single games as we could and are now full season ticket holders. Best investment I've ever made.
Wow. I think that's more than I've written at one time since my undergrad days. Congrats if you made it through all that.