I’ve been fortunate to be to many, many, many championship sporting events, in fact, all “majors” NBA finals (worst ever, Cavs swept in 4) , Super Bowl (worst one ever dallas 55-10 buffalo), World Series (great ones, Indians) and Stanley Cup Finals (many). But the greatest of all, the absolute best sporting night I ever had.
So the story goes. I took my son Max to Game 3 last year Pens vs Detroit at the Igloo. He was 5 at the time. This kid has known more about hockey by watching it on TV since he was 3, than most adult fans. So I took a big risk using a great seat for a 5 year old kid to go to a game way past his bedtime. It was the right move. Actually one of the best moves I’ve ever made in a lifetime full of many mistakes.
Why was it great? Well there were so many stories that I will break them down blog by blog as I cover the current finals. Which by the way, start tonight and while they may prove to be exciting, I fear unless Pronger and Leighton could pull off a Miracle, which they’ve proven to so far, it should be Chicago in 5. Maybe 4.
Story 1: Max kicks Matthew Barnaby in the Face:
We were leaving our hotel after getting a bite to eat (which will be another story) and we ran in to Matthew all suited up and getting ready to go over and pontificate on how the special teams match up or whatever when we approached him for a photo. He said “yes but hurry i gatta go eh” I told my son, Max, that he was a pro hockey player but Max didn’t believe me because he was in a suit not a jersey. All he knows is NHL players wear Jerseys. He can name every team at 3 by the logo. I don’t think I can do that and I write a blog for ESPNCleveland.
So in the interest of being polite to Barnaby, just picked Max up and handed my camera to someone, then got next to Matthew. Little did I know how much Max didn’t believe it, he DID NOT want to get his photo taken with this “dude.” “He’s not a player Dad, he’s not!” Max shouted. Then he kicked Mr. Barnaby right in the face. HARD!
Oh boy……I immediately apologized. He did not look happy and said he had to go. I felt horrible. So we left for the game.
We walk a block and who do we run into, Mr. Matthew again. Again I apologized and Max did too still not having any interest in this guy because he didn’t have a jersey on. Somehow I would imagine some big fat beer drinking dude with a jersey on would have been more of an athlete to him.
Anyway, after I apologized again, he said he didn’t care at all. “I’ve been hit much harder.” He was just in a hurry. We walked to the game with him. Matthew Barnaby, father of I believe 3 sons? Told us about his kids playing and how they’re doing and I believe he still lives in Buffalo. He was cool as heck especially after taking a kick to the face from Max (who by the way, is a VERY, VERY tough 5, now 6 year old).
Story 1 of at least 7 I can think of. Coming next, Max fights a Pittsburgh Steeler.
Tonight: Chicago 2, Philly 1
PS: The breaking news of a filmmaker trying to purchase the Thrashers is not me. This is another group. We are still looking at several options for a new team NHL team in Cleveland. There’s one missing out there that needs to be found. I’ll find it!