Well, it’s over. Spring and Summer are my favorite seasons. It’s almost ironic that my favorite sport, my “social life” and the place I feel most at home is someplace I only get to spend the Fall and Winter.
I wasn’t sure if I was going to make this entry or not, but after putting the sign up in my office that reads, “Yes, the Americans lost. Yes, the season is over. No, I don’t want to talk about it.” I figured I should get a few feelings out so that I didn’t flip out on the Corporate Express delivery guy when he will inevitably ask me how I’m doing with the outcome of the season despite the sign.
So the Rockets did some damage. Ok, a lot of damage. This time it was to the boys on the ice – not me. “Que?” you ask? Well, last time these two teams faced off in round 2 (2004) I got hit in the foot with an errant puck during OT. Bruised the bone – luckily I was wearing boots that night instead of my standard flip-flops. About two weeks later, I dot to gracefully walk onto the Miss TC stage for my audition with a lovely moon boot (aka walking cast). They beat us a few days later at home. Easter Sunday, as it were. Hmm... Maybe Jesus hearts Kelowna on his resurrection day?
It’s bittersweet, really. So many young men poured their heart and soul into this season, some veterans, some rookies. It’s going to be strange not to see a few faces on the ice next year.
Taylor Procsychen – I remember when that kid was a tiny, carrot-topped rookie taking photos with Wendy, Tawnie and I at post-game skates. Always more than willing to stop and say hi to fans big and small and offer a blessing over the meal and attendees at the Booster Club’s annual Christmas party.
You gave your very best effort on the ice to us for five years and led the team in so many ways. Please be very proud of yourself and the man you’ve become - we are. Let the Lord guide you in your future endeavors and please come back and visit whenever possible.
Jason Reese – It’s hard to even think that he once wore a Giants uniform. All I can think of now is the vocal forward in red, white and blue. As close as we’ve gotten to a “local boy” in a few years, it was great hearing his mom scream his full given name when he would drop the gloves and seeing his proud little sister always wearing his button and becoming a familiar face around the rink.
Thanks for helping me choose the quesadilla that night at Applebee’s – I’ll think of you every time I order it now – especially with a “Brewtus” sized beer!
Mitch Fadden – The other half of this year’s “Red Headed Wonder Twins”. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve been a fan of this kid since he played for the Thunderbirds (shut up, we all know I’m a traitorous whore). I’ve never seen an Am with better puck handling AND a great personality. When he asked McNephew for “knucks” after a post-game skate, he had my Auntie-heart on a platter. Now, whenever he has his finger up his two-year-old nose, we giggle and tell him to stop giving the “Mitch Fadden Salute”.
Good luck in your promising career, Mitch, and even though you only spent 52 games here, please don’t forget how much we love and appreciate how hard you worked for our team.
Chet Pickard – This one hurts. He’s most likely played his last game in an Ams sweater, and while I’m excited for him to move on and for his professional career to flourish, it’s hard for me to celebrate him not returning to us. One look at him skating back and forth after being scored on or up to the stands when Dan was in town to get feedback (via the famous hand signals) tells you how committed he was to playing well for the Ams. The same held true about his celebrations when a game had gone well. Possibly one of the most down-to-earth people I’ve ever met with his level of talent. That’s not surprising after meeting and becoming friends with his family.
Chet, you have no idea how much joy you brought to your little buddy, GoCamGo. Getting to skate with you is something he still talks about. There aren’t many little boys who can say that they took their first lap around the rink with a first round draft pick when they weren’t even two yet.
To the Pickard family – Thank you for sharing your son (and brother) with us and for sharing yourselves as well. I can’t wait to see you next year even though you’ll be cheering for the TBirds – Especially you, Kelly – I know this is supposed to be about your brother, but you’re one of the most fun people I’ve met in a long time and know I can always count on you for a laugh when I need one the most. I wish I had a hot, single brother for you to marry so you could be in my crazy-ass family.
I’m not going to speculate on which 19-year-olds will be back next year as it hurts my heart too much. Needless to say, with my “son” Jarrett being one of them, the 20 y/o deadline will be a nail biter for me.
To those returning to camp in August to earn their jobs back, have a good summer, but please be safe. There is so much talent brewing in each of you! I have a whole different perspective of the young boys this year for some reason this year. Maybe it’s because it has been three years since I’ve shared a house (and bathroom) with a rookie and have finally let go of the hurt that a certain player caused after leaving the team. Play hard, work out harder, do things that make you a little bit uncomfortable to broaden your comfort zone and do something nice for someone once in a while. (And Spencer, spend some time with your little sister – You’ll be gone from home for good in a few years and it really will mean more to her than you could imagine).
So, night-night, 2008-2009 Tri-City Americans. Thank you for an amazing year and another US Division Championship.
Oh yes, one more thing. GO GIANTS! BEAT THOSE DIRTY CHIEFS!