Thursday, April 27, 2006

SportsMatters Readers, Tell Me Your Stories

In talking about the fact that we were going to miss Game Three between the Oilers and Red Wings because of a Death Cab For Cutie/ Franz Ferdinand show, Avi and I began discussing the best sporting events we actually attended. I have done a post on my best moments in sports before, but I actually wasn't at any of those games. Hearing Avi's story--which I will let him share--I became intrigued by the idea of hearing actual fans talk about actual games they were at, and what it was like. Sac has done a good job of visually illustrating this point over at Battle of Alberta (why I link is beyond me. their site is the blogging equivalent of Fleetwood Mac's Rumours), and I would really love to hear other people's stories. I will start things off my naming my top three, and let others drop their moments in the comments section.

3) January 13, 1996: Curtis Joseph's first game as an Oiler. The game was back and forth, with Edmonton eventually winning 5-4, but what I remember most was the hope that it inspired. Finally, the banishment to the NHL cellar was nearing an end.

2) May 5, 1998: Boston Red Sox versus Texas Rangers. A thoroughly uneventful game (a loss by the Sox), but I got to see the Boston Red Sox play in Fenway park on Cinco De Mayo. The atmosphere was electric, even if the stadium itself scared the hell out of me. I remember trying to order a hot chocolate and a Fenway concession staffer looking at me like I was on crack. I also remember a bunch of rowdies with Sombreros getting kicked out of the stadium in like the 4th inning.

1) May 2, 1998: Game Six, Oilers versus Avalanche. The Oil had been down three-one in the series, and sent it to a game seven with a victory on this night. The Oil won 2-0, with a empty net goal (I believe by Mike Grier) sealing the deal. My girlfriend and I had fantastic seats, she was pregnant with my son, and the Oil were on their way to achieving a feat few in sports have accomplished. The crowd was insane. You hear it in the news, you see it on television, but nothing really captures how loud it is in that building during the playoffs. You really have to be there to understand. I lost my voice for about two days, and I have a vivid memory of hearing "TNT" by AC/DC right before a faceoff in the Oiler's zone with about 1-2 minutes to play. That "Oi! Oi! Oi!" is ingrained in my mind, man. "Song 2" by Blur was also huge then, so I got to do the "Woo Hoo" after the Oilers two goals (this also pre-dates Kernkraft 400's "Zombie Nation" being used after Oiler goals).


At 11:38 AM, Blogger theDrizzler said...

Sorry, gonna hog some space here:

Baseball: 1) Weekend series between the Bash Brothers and the Jays, circa 1991 @ Oakland Alameda County Stadium. The games weren't the thing so much as the living at the ballpark while the parents went off and did whatever it is parents do after they leave their young, white, Canadian suburban children in a depressed, American, inner city area with only a box full of baseball cards, two sharpies, and twenty bucks. Notable autographs acquired by us: Dave Steib, Jimmy Key, The Crime Dog, A very young Johnny O, Kelly Gruber, Walt Weiss, Jose Canseco, Dave Stewart. 2) Avi and I went down to Seattle last year for Raffi's big hit. Despite the junk, it was a great moment, tons of fun, Raffi, if you're out there reading this, we love you man. 3) Any one of hundreds of Trappers games but watching the powerhouse team of '91? capture the PCL banner that year at Ducey was terrific.

Hockey: All Oilers... 1) Game 2 of the Oilers Flyers Cup series (was it 86?). 2) Another one with Avi, game 3 against Dallas where zippy the wonder kid scored in OT. 3) Steve Smith, not a great one, but I was there and I sure do remember it.

Golf: Standing six feet away from Vijay at the fourth tee at Shaughnessy last summer. The ball actually cowered in fear on the tee. (Also enjoyable was little leftie Weir melting down on the same fairway, I never new such a little man could say such big words. (as well, I would say close to half the golfers walking the course with cigarettes hanging out of their mouths was pretty funny too)).

Indy: Paul Tracy winning the Greg Moore trophy at the now defunct Vancouver Indy. And all them Surrey titties were good too.

At 12:08 PM, Blogger theDrizzler said...

Oh, and I will predict the future:

Should the Oiler/Detroit series go to six games, then Game six will be a great moment too. But I'm hoping game one of the BoA will be better.

On that note, I hope to be able to hook up with you guys for some eats and bevvies before/after the game. I'll be flying in the morning of and taking off the next day. Can't wait.

At 2:57 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Nice ones.

At 5:03 PM, Blogger G-Dog said...

My favourites all involve the Oilers.

#1: Game 5 against Winnipeg in 1990 (I think it was) when they were down 3-1... they're talking a lot now about how the building is louder than it was during the heyday, but that was as loud as I can remember it (and I've been to playoff games against Dallas recently). It was also cool because I'm pretty sure it is the last game I've been to with my dad.

#2: Grant Fuhr's number retirement. He was my childhood idol growing up and seeing him come out in his gear brought tears to my eyes.

#3: Stanley Cup Banner raising... I can't remember which one this was but the home opener that year was against Vancouver. Very cool.

#4: Heritage Classic... freezing my n*ts off to be part of history. Has to be there.

#5: My first live game... probably 1983. Great seats about 20 rows up behind the Oilers goal. The game was against the Islanders. I can remember yelling at Andy Moog because I thought he was challenging too far out (I was a 7 or 8 year old goalie... obviously I knew everything).

At 5:38 PM, Blogger Andy Grabia said...

Shit, I forgot about the Heritage Classic game. That easily takes over my number 3 spot. Man, what a great day. Plus, Mitzel still hates Murphy for taking me over him,and I get to hear him give Murphy the gears over at at least once a year.

At 6:13 PM, Blogger theDrizzler said...

F*$cking Mick...

Add to my list also Jari Kurri's retirement. It only made getting his autograph in his rookie year outside the dressing room when I was six or seven years old that much better. Talk about closure.

At 7:25 PM, Blogger Alex said...

None of these are historically significant, bu

1. 1991 MLB All-Star Game at Skydome. It wasn't a very good game, from what I remember, but being there was pretty cool. Cal Ripken Jr. hit a home run. Being 9 years old at the time, I also found the opening of the Skydome roof to be exceedingly cool.

2. WWE Backlash 2004. Between seeing Randy Orton take the exposed bump onto the thumbtacks, chanting "You Screwed Bret" at evil referee Earl Hebner, and watching Chris Benoit successfully defend the title against Shawn Michaels and Triple H, it was quite the evening.

Also, it's worth noting that after Hebner and Michaels, the person who got booed the loudest was then-Mayor of Edmonton Bill Smith, who was shown during highlights of Chris Benoit day in Edmonton on the big screen. He should have seen the writing on the wall.

3. Red Sox vs Twins at Fenway Park, August 1998. Though it was one of his mediocre outings (4 runs through 6 innings), this game will allow me to tell my grandchildren that I saw the great Pedro Martinez pitch in person.

4. Patriots vs Vikings, Exhibition Game, August 1998. It was a Vikings blowout (28-0, I think). I was sitting in the corner of the end zone, and Randy Moss (then a rookie) caught a jump ball for a touchdown about 50 feet in front of us. I remember seeing him go up for that ball, and all I could think was "wow".

5. Oilers vs Stars, First Round of the 2000 Playoffs. This was the only game of the series that Edmonton won, and I lost my voice after about a period of heckling Ed Belfour.


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