Monday was a special anniversary in my life as a sports fan.
June 14 is always one of my favorite days of the year. Because 16 years ago yesterday, the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup for the first time in 54 years.
I know, I know, most of you don’t care about hockey, and fewer about the Rangers. But a moment of explanation: This was the greatest sports moment of my lifetime, and those of thousands of other New Yorkers. You don’t understand, the Rangers were never going to win the Cup in my time here on Earth, and I was resigned to that.
You know how Red Sox fans felt in 2004? Well, that’s how Rangers fans felt. An entire weight had been lifted, and finally, finally, the idiotic chants of “1940” (ask an Islanders fan about that one) and all the miseries and failures of playoffs past had come crashing down.
It was truly a magical day in my life, and I don’t care if you think that makes me too obsessed of a sports fan. At that point in my life (I was 19), that was a huge, huge deal. And it’s still a huge deal, and brings so many smiles to my face, 16 years later.
So as I do just about every year, I sat down Monday night to watch Game 7 again, when the Rangers beat the Vancouver Canucks, 3-2, at Madison Square Garden. I still get nervous in the third period, because I’m crazy that way.
**It’s amazing how different watching a sports event was back then. There were no on-screen graphics of any kind, nothing telling you the time remaining, the score of the game, etc. We had no idea what we were missing.
-**Watching a game from the 1990s on an HDTV is practically like watching the Zapruder film. It’s fuzzy and a little grainy and you can’t believe you used to think this was awesome quality at the time.
**The happiest look I’ve ever seen on another human being, ever, was Mark Messier’s face in the photo above, when he first got the Cup. (Happiest expression on my face? Day I got married and began a sentence with “I, Michael Lewis, take you ….” But that’s another story.) Messier’s mug simply says it all: A man at the absolute apex of accomplishment and joy.
And thanks to YouTube, here are the final moments of the game, an event that was 54 years in the making. Still gives me goosebumps, if you can believe it. I got goosebumps watching the whole game last night, and I hope that feeling never, ever goes away:
**So every day seems to bring new misery from the Gulf Coast oil spill. Things seem to be getting worse and worse, and just thinking about all the devastation being caused is enough to make a person throw their hands up and scream.
And yet, we need someone or something to lighten the mood. Check out this hilarious video of what happens when coffee gets spilled at BP: