I've never been a fan of hockey, but it wasn't until high school that I started to hate it.
Actually it was more like resentment.
My alma mater (THE St. Louis University High School) has a fantastic hockey program and even won state last year. However, I didn't play hockey during my four years at the U. High. I played basketball. Basketball is the same season as hockey, and most of the time, they're also played on the same night, Fridays.
Unfortunately, SLUH's basketball program struggled while I was on the team, and the fans were more apt to be at the hockey games on those Friday nights. I didn't necessarily blame the fans, but it still annoyed me to an extent.
Another contributor to my resentment for hockey was the St. Louis Blues resurgence in popularity over the last few years. It genuinely angered me seeing how quickly fans jumped on the bandwagon within a couple years after the strike in 2004-05.
Why couldn't my Rams get that same type of affection? The Blues weren't that good following the strike. Why were people so quick to fall back in love with the Blues when the Rams hadn't gone anywhere and they had won a championship within the last decade?
If you'll refer to my last column, you'll know that I love me some USA sports. And my love for my country trumps my dislike for hockey.
That said, I absolutely did not wake up at 6:30 a.m. Saturday to watch Team USA take on Russia. When I say my love of country trumps my dislike of hockey, what I mean is that if the game is on at a reasonable hour, and I am not doing anything else, then I'll tune in.
Saturday afternoon when I awoke from a fantastic 11-hour hibernation, I started my day the same way I start every day, by scrolling through my Twitter feed. About 10 tweets in, I realized I had made a terrible decision deciding to sleep in, and I had missed a hockey game for the ages.
T.J. Oshie, a Blues player and fan favorite for years, single-handedly delivered Team USA a victory, scoring four goals during the shootout.
As much as I wanted tell people I was glad I got the sleep and that I couldn’t care less if and how Team USA won, I couldn't do it. I have watched several highlights and read several articles. Just from those snippets, I could get a sense of how electric that arena was and how unbelievable it would have been to watch the game live, seeing Oshie beat the Russian goaltender again and again.
Obviously one game hasn't changed my overall viewpoint on hockey. I'd still rather have an NBA team in St. Louis, and I still wonder why people love the Blues so much more than the Rams.
For the next week though, if there's still room, you can find me looking for a seat on the back of the Team USA hockey bandwagon.