On June 1st, 1992 I remember going into my dads bedroom where he was layin down watching tv. I sat on the edge of the bed, wondering what he was watching. Turns out it was game 4 of the 1992 Stanley Cup Finals, which was the Chicago Blackhawks vs Pittsburgh Penguins. I remember asking question after question and he was happy to answer, even though the Hawks were about to get swept in the Finals. What I didn’t know at the time was just how much my dad enjoyed the Hawks.
It wasn’t until a few years later in 1994 when I was in 8th grade that I actually learned how much the Hawks meant. My dad surprised me with tickets to my first Hawks game. He said he wanted me to experience the sights and smells of the old Chicago Stadium. Now if you have ever been to Chicago Stadium, you know that it was old, small, smelly, and loud.
Looking back now, the best part wasn’t going to the game, but hearing the stories that my dad had of being a kid and running up the stairs to get a good seat for my grandpa and cousin Kenny. My dad would talk about my grandpa taking him to Mama Schiavone bar and how some of the players would go in after the games and would chat with my dad and grandpa while that drank. The 60’s obviously were a different time, since a young kid in a bar wouldn’t fly today. Now after hearing these stories about Mama Schiavone’s, I figured it was just a simple high five and that was it. Then, in 2013 at the Blackhawks convention, I had the opportunity to talk to Bobby Hull as he signed my tattoo. Of course my dad took advantage of the situation and asked Bobby if he remembered that bar. And wouldn’t you know it, Bobby remembered. Not only did he remember, but he remembered chatting with my dad and grandpa. Of course you could chalk it up to him just agreeing for the sake of agreement. But he started talking about the same stuff my dad told me about. So just as my dad had the memory of meeting Hull with my grandpa, I have the memory of meeting Hull with my dad.
As I’ve stated before in a prior post, there are certain things you do with your parents, grandparents, or any family member for that matter that will lead to traditions, and those that will be etched in your mind. So tonight, almost 4 months to the day that my grandpa passed, we sit here getting ready for game 1 of the 2017/2018 NHL season. My grandma, aunts, dad and mom are all here…and even though I look to my right and see an empty red chair, I know my grandpa is sitting there.
Tonight is the first preseason game for the Blackhawks. Normally, I’d be excited about this and call my dad and grandpa to see if they’re going to watch it, but not tonight. My dad and I decided not to go to the home opener, but rather watch it at his house, with my uncles, with my grandpa’s jersey on the chair he sat in. For the first time my dad will have to watch a game knowing he can’t call his dad to celebrate a win or pick him up to watch the game. Some of you may think that this is being over dramatic, but the Blackhawks were a bonding experience that was passed on through generations. Some may have memories of baking cookies with their grandma, or perhaps fishing with their grandpa, mine was celebrating a goal. As the Blackhawks take the puck past the blue line and slip the puck past the goalie, this celebration will be different, this celebration will be with tears.
The last time I wrote on here was back in Sept. Where the hell did the time go? Actually i haven’t posted anything on here for one simple reason, my job. Being that I now work for the government, I have to be smart with what i write. For those that have followed my post for awhile, you know that I tend to write about things that a few people may find politically incorrect. Unfortunately we live in a world where people get butt-hurt over the littlest of things. Later today i will be doing a video blog about tattoos, specifically mine. I will also speak about the Bradley Lopez name and why I used it instead of my real name. I’ve included some shirts that i made for each round of the playoffs and a few pics of my family.
So in the tradition of Things On My Mind, here is number 1….a little late of course.
1. For life long Cubs fan Nov. 2nd will go down as the day the world stood still. People young and old cried as soon as Rizzo caught the ball from Bryant. The thing about the Cubs is that the term Lovable Losers was common place year after year. You knew the Cubs weren’t going to win it all but that didn’t stop millions of fans from visiting Wrigley for a game or watching in front of the television with their dad or grandfather.
2015 was different though. Although they were swept by the Mets in the NLCS, as Cubs fan, you knew we had a special team. What if the saying “Next Year” really meant next year? It’s weird as a Cubs fan to read the preseason World Series predictions and see the Cubs in the top spot. A couple of new additions to the team and now World Series contenders. Besides a few hiccups throughout the 2016 season , the Cubs were the championship caliber team that we expected them to be.
Back in 2003 during the 8th inning of game 6 of the Cubs NLDS game vs the Marlins, I stood in line waiting for just 5 outs knowing I’d be the first in line to buy a NLDS championship shirt. What happened instead was one of the worst innings any Cubs fan has had to live through. I, along with hundreds of thousands of Cubs fans stood there screaming at the top of our lungs at a guy with headphones instead of directing that anger towards a Cubs team that gave it all away.
Fast forward to game 7, 8th inning of the 2016 World Series. Cubs up by three..then by two…then tied. Jesus Christ not again. My brother in law yelled at me because i went to use the restroom and sat in a different spot then I had the entire game and that’s what caused them to lose the lead. Don’t mind the fact that Chapman was overused, but hey superstitions are OK too! So we sat there for the rest of the 8th and 9th innings praying to the baseball gods that Cleveland wouldn’t score another run, and thank god they didn’t.
For the Blackhawks, the number 17 was a lucky number,as in 2 goals in 17 seconds to win the Stanley Cup. Well, as luck would have it, number 17 showed it’s face again. This time however, 17 minutes not seconds,the time it took for a rain delay. As a Cubs fan, I saw this delay as a way to re-energize the team. The Cubs took the field and with a man on first and second, Zorbrist hit a double. The Cubs would later score another run, giving them a 2 run lead. This is it! This is our time! Finally! Of course Cleveland wasn’t going to go out without a fight and managed to score another run. With 2 outs in the bottom of the 10th, in game 7 of the World Series, millions of Cubs fans held their breath…
I forgot to include this in my original post, but I went to Dicks Sports to buy some WS gear and wouldn’t you know it, my price came out to 108.00. Thought this was awesome being that it was 108 years since they won. The people around me were like dude you need to save that receipt. lol