Tuesday June 25th, 2013 – Fox Lake, IL
Try as I might to the point of exhaustion, I just can’t seem to find any place for myself not only on the Chicago Blackhawks bandwagon, but that of hockey in general. I am a lifelong sports fan, and by all accounts I know should probably love it madly - but I couldn’t have any less interest.
I almost feel guilty about it, but I can’t change how I feel. I think soccer stinks too, and hockey is basically soccer on ice. I know entire nations and untold millions live and die with either sport, but they just don’t do anything for me and never have. I just don’t seem to be wired in this way.
I have tried for years to figure out why I can’t develop a love for hockey, and all I can come up with is that it probably started as a kid. There were never any games on TV to watch growing up in Milwaukee, which in turn probably led to nobody wanting to play it. I can only remember one time when the kids in our neighborhood farted around with it, but none of us even wore skates.
There was a back yard in our neighborhood that had flooded in early spring one year, and then froze over when it got cold again. That produced as close to a rink as we’d ever get naturally, so we decided to try playing hockey. We basically slid around in our boots, and made do with some homemade style sticks. Granted those weren’t the best conditions, but we never played it again.
I’ve tried to acquire a taste for hockey in later years, and I’ve even attended several games with the hopes of a fire being lit somewhere. I was performing in Winnipeg years ago, and I got to see a Jets game before they moved out of town. Some of the local comics were going and they asked if I wanted to tag along. It was great hanging with the comics, but the game didn’t matter at all.
In Milwaukee, our local team was called the Admirals. They were always minor league, so that probably made it less than sexy to follow as well. I was happy if I heard they won, but never was I a rabid fan. I did notice a lot of women enjoyed it, so more than once I went to a game as a date situation through the years. I only went because I thought they would like it. What an idiot I was.
The Admirals are still the team in Milwaukee, and I do consider myself a major fan – but that’s only because I know people in the front office. They have always been extremely nice to me, and I like and respect them as people. I’d go out of my way to do anything for them, and I wish I was a bigger fan of the sport so I could follow the team closer. Still, I’m a big fan of the organization.
Top to bottom, there are some fantastic people who make the team go. Jon Greenberg has been a supporter of mine for years, going back to when he worked in the front office for the Brewers. I will owe that guy for years for all the free tickets he threw my way over the years. He has always been a class act, as have people like Mike Wojciechowski and Tim Van Wagoner. They’re great.
I was even hired to perform at their Christmas party a few years ago by owner Harris Turer. He couldn’t have been nicer, even though it was a difficult situation. I’ll be a loyal Admirals fan for life because of the way they conduct their business. They’re big league all the way in my book.
Living in the Chicago area, I also have become a fan of the way the Blackhawks do business. It has been nothing short of remarkable to see the way their management has turned the team into a first class product in just a few years. Owner Rocky Wirtz has changed the entire climate and it’s trickling down to the city. I see Blackhawks gear everywhere, and this is the second Stanley Cup they’ve won in four years. That’s super impressive, but I wish I liked the sport more to enjoy it.