So during my two weeks on the East Coast I got some time to travel to some of my favorite places: New York, Pittsburgh (for my brother’s graduation and to see relatives), Richmond, and even a quick jaunt over to soak some rays in Virginia Beach. I did lots of flying, and even had a quick mini train trip up to DC. Lots of places in not a lot of time.
My dad picked me up from the airport in Pittsburgh and chauffeured me to my grandparents’ house where I spent a few days relaxing with relatives. The hockey playoffs (though not Stanley Cup) playoffs were in full swing, and as usual the city was bleeding black and gold, though for once, not always for the Steelers.
We drove on (PA) Route 51 to my grandparents’ house and my dad and I suddenly noticed that lots of people decided to start honking their car horns for no apparent reason. Then all of a sudden I saw what was stirring the commotion:
Yes, on the side of busy Route 51 was a large Stanley Cup erected from aluminum foil (“tin foil” to use proper Pittsburghese). The chintzy yet endearing masterpiece was accompanied by a “Honk for the Pens” sign. Based on my limited sampling, the message was greeted with substantial success and lots of honking.
I tried my darndest to get my camera out of my bag and snap a picture before we sped by, but of course I failed. I vowed to myself that I would try to find a picture later, but since neither my grandparents nor parents have non-dial-up internet, I figured the story most likely would end there.
However, this morning I remembered the silly and amusing roadside spectacle and ran a search in Google for it. Sure enough someone had blogged about it already! Fantastic. They also were able to get a picture (albeit blurry), so I was exceedingly pleased.
Anyway, I’m sure Librari[d]an will never read my blog, but if for some reason he ever does, I just want to let you know that this find made my day. Go Pens (and my utmost affection for the city of Pittsburgh for its boundless enthusiasm and fandom)!
So other than a very brief stint in elementary school, I’ve never really watched much NHL. I remember one Christmas when I was younger I got a Pittsburgh Penguins jacket and was pretty psyched, but growing up in the Richmond area, there just weren’t rinks around for hockey, let alone ice skating. We eventually did get a rink, in late high school, but by that point I had already picked up just about every other sport and had been playing for years. Other than the semester I briefly considered taking it for a PE credit (and instead opted for skiing), the sport rarely entered my radar.
Anyway, my brother just graduated from college in Pittsburgh and I got to spend a few weeks on the East Coast during this past month, and during much of it I had some quality time to hang out with him. Well apparently in his last year he’s become quite a fan of the hometown Penguins. It was fun talking to him about it, and his sudden enthusiasm certainly piqued my interest. We caught a few moments of an early playoff game at a bar right before his graduation dinner (in Pittsburgh) and I caught several more of the Stanley Cup games this week.
Anyway, like any good kid who has over 30 (40? 50?) relatives in the Pittsburgh area, I have (re-)decided my team was the Penguins. I caught several of the games this past week including an unbelievably exciting triple-overtime Stanley Cup game 5. The last 3 minutes of game 6 weren’t a slouch either. After an electrifying win in game 5, the Pens fell in the waning tenths-of-a-second in game 6, to the Detroit Red Wings. It was a hard fought series, and hopefully NBC‘s decision to air several of the final games will result in the sport gaining more fans. I know this is one of them. I look forward to the return of Crosby, Malkin, and the boys, and their taking of the Cup next year (bandwagon much?).
Pittsburgh’s game winning goal for 4-3 victory in triple overtime of Stanley Cup game 5.
Other headlines: Celtics vs Lakers in the NBA Finals. I can’t bear to listen to any further ESPN analyses rehashing past Celts/Lakers matchups from the Magic Johnson-Larry Bird era. I can almost guarantee that in the coming years the current (2008) Finals will be of no comparison to the nostalgia of the old contests.
Picture Source: NY Daily News