[Editor's Note]: This is the ninth in a series of user-submitted articles to Fear The Fin, detailing readers personal history following the San Jose Sharks. For archiving purposes this account has been republished. It was originally authored by Mepex on January 23, 2009; the initial Fanpost can be found here.
[Image Courtesy of Section223]
Given how much I care about and follow the Sharks now, it would be nice if I had a Northeastern or Canadian upbringing to puff out my hockey pedigree. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Like most Bay Area kids born and bred in the late 70s and early 80s, I belonged to Niners religion. I followed the genesis of the Sharks franchise with some interest, since San Jose never really had a decent sports franchise before (the USFL Earthquakes don't count), but I didn't really know anything about hockey, and only barely followed the Sharks their first couple of years. Everyone knows expansion franchises suck anyway, right?
My hockey education began in college, when out of pure luck many of my new best friends in the dorm were hockey fans. I had a pair of Rollerblades already, and within weeks we were were playing roller hockey outside four or five nights a week on some old tennis courts with a ball and plastic crates. Along with learning to play the game, we watched NHL games whenever we could. My Russian friend regaled us with stories of the KLM line, and his pick for the greatest goaltender of all time, Vladimir Tretiak.
I know my first Sharks game in person was sometime that year, but I honestly don't remember anything about it, except we sat in the lower bowl. Given how bad they were that year, they probably lost. We went to the Sharks FanFest too, to meet the new superstar, Craig Janney. Guess that one didn't work out so well.
Once the hockey seed had been planted, it quickly grew into a large and ugly plant. After playing roller hockey all four years, I joined a roller and ice league back in the Bay Area once I graduated. My Sharks fandom also grew, from single game tickets to 10-packs to multiple 10-packs to season tickets.