I’ve always been very into watching sports (not very good at playing). I’m female and an only child, so my dad really had no choice but to try and pull his only child into loving sports the way he does. I live in an LA based household. My dad grew up watching the Dodgers and the Lakers (for betting reasons, he doesn’t have a football team). My dad never cared for hockey. He says, “There is no ice in Southern California!” I became a huge Laker fan in 1994 and experienced some great times with Basketball through 2002. One of my first big relationships was with a guy who was NOT into sports (what a loser). So, I stopped watching.
I started working for Disney in 2001 (that was a LONG 6 years of my life). I met one of my now best friends, Ramon while working there and went with him to a Mighty Ducks game that season. I don’t remember much other than being VERY cold. Over the next few years I was invited to go along (Ramon and his girlfriend Krystal are owners of the buy two get two). A handful of games under my belt, I still wasn’t much of a fan, but I enjoyed myself.
The beginning of 2006-2007 season (yes, I became a fan just in time) I attended a PRE-SEASON game…a couple of nights later when I was invited again…I couldn’t resist. I knew I was hooked. I don’t know what happened that made this experience so much different than others, but I couldn’t get enough. Just days later I had a printed out schedule on the wall to keep track of wins and losses and I was learning as much as I could for every game. I got my first jersey that Christmas (my own name on the back…I still hadn’t committed to a favorite player by then.) By the time the playoffs started I was a wreck. My friends often joked I would need oxygen just to get through the games because I found it to be so intense.
My favorite memory that season was actually while at a Dodger game. I don’t do baseball…it’s too boring, especially in relation to hockey. I didn’t understand why my friends, the Ducks friends who are also ANGEL fans, would ever go to a Dodger game…let alone, it meant missing GAME 1 against Vancouver. I dragged my feet to that damn game, my Ducks shirt on and my headphones ready to go. I didn’t hold back while the Ducks killed Vancouver and Andy Mac got his hat trick. The people around me must have thought I was crazy. We left the parking lot that night with me cheering, “GO DUCKS!” Fabulous!
I did finally chose a favorite that year…it took a while, but I settled with Dustin Penner. Other options were Ryan Getzlaf (I didn’t want to be grouped with that type of puck bunny image though, I was an actual FAN), Teemu Selanne (a classic, but I wanted to be more original) or Scott Niedermayer, who was the first player that impacted me, I knew he was amazing. Well, I went with DP…jerk signed an offer sheet. So I turned to Scotty, then the guy contemplated retirement…I was on a roll! So, the friends don’t let me pick favorites anymore…I’m okay with it. Ironically enough, I do have a Getzlaf jersey AND a Selanne jersey…I’m thinking I’m safe with those though…my Carter jersey may be questionable however.
I don’t look at Basketball the same anymore…it doesn’t compare to hockey…not even close. My dad doesn’t understand why I went Anaheim and not LA. If my friends, who ultimately are the reason I’m a hockey fan, were Kings fans, I would have been a Kings fan…thank heavens they are not! My dad? Yea, I’ve taken him to so many Ducks games, even he is starting to enjoy it…he calls himself a Ducks fan too.
Overall, I know I’m a “young” fan, and I know I’ve seen some great things…and missed out on so much more. I still learn new stuff from time to time, but I appreciate so much of the little things about the game that I never realized before becoming a fan.