As each day passes, the notion of being a working sports journalist fades. It’s not a bad thing. What I find returning is my passion for being a sports fan.
Through my whole career I’ve had it ingrained in me that I was no longer a fan. I couldn’t be and expect to do my job properly. I had no problem with that. While I still cheered for my favorite college and professional teams, I slowly found that the results of the games meant less and less to me.
This is coming from a guy who was a pretty hardcore fan of the Twins, Vikings and North Stars (never much cared for the Timberwolves). How hardcore? You tell me.
Opening round of the 1992 Stanley Cup playoffs. Game 6 of the North Stars-Red Wings series. The old Met Center in Bloomington, Minn., where the North Stars used to call home before Norm Green stole away with them to Texas.
Somehow I managed to get tickets directly behind the teams’ benches, sort of in the middle, but closer to the North Stars players. I soon noticed that if I stood up I could yell over the plexiglass. This came in handy during a scrum in front of the benches that involved Red Wings thug Bob Probert.
As the scuffle continued, I stood to voice my displeasure with Mr. Probert, who was a bit of a goon to say the least. I believe I said something to the effect that perhaps he was a piece of excrement. Or something like that. It’s really not important right now.
Anyway, with the words barely out of my mouth, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a Detroit player, water bottle in hand, pointing it at me. I ducked behind the glass just in time to avoid a spray of water.
Unfortunately, the North Stars equipment manager was directly in front of me. The water hit him full force. He was not happy. He pounded the glass and yelled at me. I sheepishly apologized, thinking the whole time security was about to haul me away.
I survived somehow. But the Stars didn’t. They lost 1-0 in overtime and then lost the series in Detroit. They played one more year in Minnesota before moving to Dallas. They are now dead to me.
This wasn’t the first time plexiglass saved me. Good lord, no. But you’ll have to wait for my next entry to find out what happened between me and Rickey Henderson.