ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – As the Blues closed in on their first-ever Stanley Cup, all I could think of was my late father.
We didn’t have a particularly close relationship growing up, but, as in any relationship, there were still good memories.
The best ones involve the Blues.
My dad was a dyed-in-the-wool ‘Note fan, and introduced me to hockey when I was very young. I fell in love with sports, and the Blues became a thread that tethered us together.
When I was 10 and 11-years-old, we had season tickets. I still remember attending games with him, watching Al MacInnis, Chris Pronger, Keith Tkachuk, Pierre Turgeon and Pavel Demitra.
Six men spread out across the ice brought the two of us together, and we were never closer than when we were cheering them on.
I still remember our elation watching the Blues on their run to the Western Conference Finals in 2001. The next year, we were together in the stands when the Blues knocked the Blackhawks out of the playoffs.
Watching the games at home was almost as fun as watching them live. I can close my eyes and see us watching the Blues erase a 5-0 third period deficit against the Maple Leafs, the two of us watching in the living room as the Blues kept scoring.
Several years later, we were at a game and a highlight from that comeback played across the Jumbotron. My dad was in the aisle, walking to the concourse and yelled back at me, “Remember that?!”
Our shared experience was part of Blues history. For me, our living room might as well have been up on the screen next to the highlights.
My dad was 10-years-old when the Blues kicked off play in 1967.
He told me stories about what it was like to dress up to go to a game at the Old Arena, and hear the crowd chant "Barclay! Barclay!" and later on “Liut!”
He talked about how he remembered the Kid Line, Gary Unger, Bob Gassoff, Brian Sutter, and Bernie Federko. He told me tales of the Monday Night Miracle and how Brett Hull had quickest release he had ever seen.
He got to see the Cardinals win the World Series and the Rams win the Super Bowl, but he never saw the Blues hoist the Cup over their heads.
Tonight, they finally did.
So, here's to you Dad. And here’s to every Blues fan who has waited 52 years for the impossible to happen.