Before I get to the meat of my post, first I want to thank Carp for taking a chance on someone who has never posted (my employer’s internet policy is strict) but has been an avid follower since the moment I first found this place awhile back. Over 3 years ago on 7/1/2007 when I was dying to find out who the Rangers would buy on their annual summer spending spree. The moment I found this page I knew I had found someplace special. For that moment and the opportunity to share another, Carp thanks.
Life is full of moments some of them stand out more than others (May and June of ’94 is full of them), some of them of more meaningful than others (Gretzky’s last game, Messier, Leetch, Richter, or Graves’ jersey retirements), most just fade from memory as soon their contracts expire… I mean just as soon as the moment passes.
Even more important than the moments that stand out are the moments that shape our lives. They define who we are. The moment you realized “hey this is what I want to for the rest of my life.” The moment you look across a room, a table, a bar, what have you, and saw your one-day spouse and said, “That is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with.” For those of us who are truly fanatics, those that know the fourth liners as well as first, the moment we knew who our team was can be equally defining.
Many of us will say we were born Rangers fans, and for many of us it goes even deeper to the city Yankees/Mets, Knicks/Nets, Giants/Jets (my apologies I do not follow many other American sports but I know we have a WNBA team an MLS team and I’m sure so much more). But, back to the Rangers for now, everything has a beginning whether watching TV (or listening to the radio for you vintage fans) with your older brother, your dad, your mom, your grandparents, or whomever it was. There is a moment when you stop following to be with them & started following for yourself.
Perhaps like me you are in fact even a convert. Yes folks it’s true I was once, sigh a Flyers fan. Now, while you all grab your rocks and pitch forks allow me to quickly explain. My dad & all my uncles (my sports fan idols at my innocent 1 ½ years) were all born in NYC and loved the Rangers & every other NYC team. I was born in Philly while my parents lived there for a few years. I thought you rooted for the team(s) from your birth city (I was too young to know anything about class, honor, and I’d like to add talent but you have beaten Sather, errr, that horse to death).
So until I was about 4 I was a Flyers fan, and then I had my moment. It is one of my first solid memories (vivid, clear, emotional, and defining). I don’t remember the layout of the house, the color of the carpet, just this on ice incident. The date 10/26/87, the place (for me at least) on the floor with my dad, the game was Rangers Flyers. I was so excited we could watch hockey together. It didn’t matter that our teams were against each other (again I was young). They were on the ice together my dad & could share this game together.
Dave Brown more or less tried to completely kill Tomas Sandstrom. I couldn’t believe it. I was crushed. Why would one of the players on my team do something like that? The Rangers guys didn’t do that (although it is quite possible they did 10 seconds before. Again I was 4—short attention span and limited memory).
From here the moment gets a little fuzzier. Perhaps it is the shock of the moment. Perhaps it is the struggle of a wonderful and saving rebirth from a land of Carcillo to a land of lights (on Broadway). Can I get an AMEN for the rebirth of my sports soul!?
A few minutes later on that night in ’87, my dad asked if I was okay, and I asked him if it was okay for me to change teams, to not root for people like that anymore. (Even then I understood what it meant to abandon your team.) Since that day, since that moment I have bled Rangers blue. That’s the moment that hockey, the Rangers, and more importantly being a fan became important to me for me, and not for what I thought it was supposed to be.
So while we toil through the second half of the dog days of summer and the critiques of Sather have played out in everything from a short play to short ASCII (#$#%) curse words and the buzz of rookie progress in training camp still weeks away, take a second and remember the moment you became a fan, remember why in the middle of summer we talk about a game played in the coldest months of the year. Be thankful you are a fan and feel free to share your moment if you’d like.
Thanks again Dad for letting me switch to a Rangers fan!
Hi, it’s Carp. Thanks, Tim. Great post.
Fourty-three days until Opening Night.
43: Ryan Callahan’s first number with the Rangers.
43: Dennis Eckersley.