It's a rather pathetic failing of mine that most of my "I remember exactly what I was doing when" moments revolve around sports. Sure, there were those seminal moments in history that everyone born after the Kennedy assassination has mentally bookmarked (9/11, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Challenger explosion, the end of the Iran hostage crisis...if you're of a certain vintage...ahem).
But pretty much all of my total recall involves some sport or another. Ali destroying Spinks in The Battle of New Orleans, one of the greatest 15 round title bouts of all time? In my pyjamas, sitting in my grandparents' basement, downing 7-Up and eating salt and vinegar chips. Witnessing my first no-hitter on NBC's Saturday Game of the Week (Jack Morris, Detroit Tigers)? Ditto. Only without the pyjamas.
And on it goes...Miracle On Ice? At home, sick as a dog with the flu. Punchup in Piestany? Screaming obscenities at the t.v. under the last roof I would ever share with my mother (Don't worry, she's still alive. I just moved out a few years later. She didn't). Game 3, '87 Canada Cup? A teen dance club in Cornwall (I was 16 and perpetually horny...don't judge me). Joe Carter's home run? A bar called Hurley's in Ottawa South. About a week later, they turned it into a grocery store.
And I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing the very moment the Ottawa Senators were reborn.
Now you both may be asking yourselves "What in Jesus-jumped-up-Christ does this have to do with anything??" Well, let me tell you. It has to do with this:
I often wonder where all these “lifelong” Sens fans came from. The team is not that old. Who did they cheer on before the Sens came, the 67s? Is Ottawa filled with former Habs fans who leapt off at the first sign of trouble (ie. – most of the 90s) or is OKIAs that stoppde cheering for the Leafs once the Sens got (regular season) good (ie – the latter part of our current decade.)This particular pearl of wisdom came from commenter blurr1974 on a post at (and it pains me to say this but only because it involves the Laffs) the superbly written Pension Plan Puppets, but it's not an uncommon sentiment amongst Tannenbaum's Army Of The Wallet Bearing Undead.
They are quick to heap scorn on anyone with the temerity to *GASP!* turn their back on the Original Six once an expansion franchise lands in their laps. They cannot grasp how we, who live outside of the 905 can possibly transfer our allegiances to one of them young 'un upstarts, dagnabbit! The fact that the Opening Night crowds in Vancouver (1970) Winnipeg, Quebec City and Edmonton (1979) and yes, even Ottawa (1993) were not composed entirely of newborns shitting their Huggies boggles their imagination. So, blurr1974, let me try to enlighten you and your bretheren. Again. I'll type this slowly, since it seems some of you have trouble with basic logic: Your city is not our city. Your team is no longer our team.
Sure, before we were awarded a franchise, all Ottawa hockey fans were easily divisible between Leafs and Habs. We didn't have much of a choice, did we? Personally, I was a Habs "fan". But it was purely an accident of geography. Cornwall was closer to Montreal than Toronto. Throw in the French-Canadian side of my family, and voila; Allez La Sainte Flannelle! But it was strictly a marriage of convenience. Ottawa, an hour down the road, had always been my second home (GO RIDERS! NORTH SIDE SUCKS!).
And then a funny thing happened, blurr1974. As I lay in my dorm room at Carleton University on December 6th, 1990, drinking beer and listening to 54Rock on the crappy clock radio on my bedside table, the news guy broke into regular programming to announce something that would change my life forever. The NHL had given Ottawa a team. They gave me my team.
Yeah. I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing. So with all due respect blurr1974, please don't ever cast aspersions on the legitimacy of my devotion. The only reason I can't call myself a "lifelong Sens fan" is through the simple, and completely accidental fact that I happened to have been born before the team. Oh, and the #13 Jamie Baker, vintage 1993 jersey hanging in my closet kindly advises you to stick it up your ass.