Unaccomplished Memoirs, Pt. 1

April 12, 2011

A couple years ago, I wrote up a project that was intended to be a memoir about my life thus far.  Having accomplished very little of any real consequence, I shamelessly and facetiously embellished a few small things that I remembered from my youth.  I recently rediscovered said personal memoirs and have decided to present them to the world, for the entertainment of the masses, free of charge.  Bon appétit.

Part I

It was November 1992.  Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  I wore a red sweater with dinosaurs on it pretty often at this point in my life.  The sun was out when my dad picked me up from daycare, the same as every day.  I ran out to greet him wearing my oversized backpack, same as every day.  This time, though, he had something special in store.  He knelt down so I could talk to him at my own level.

“Do you like hockey?” he asked me.  I think he probably knew the answer.

“Yeah!” I responded enthusiastically.  I barely knew what hockey was.

“Well I’ve got a surprise,” my dad said as he reached into the front pocket of his brown leather coat.  Candy?  Crayons?  What was it?  His hand emerged holding two slips of paper, decorated vibrantly with black and gold.

“We’re going to a Penguins game!”  He seemed pretty excited about it, so I got pretty excited about it.  This seemed important.

Some time later – it could have been the next day or the next month for all I knew – I bundled up in my winter coat and headed into the city.  I was really warm in the car; the coat had to go.  I needed to put it back on when we left the parking garage.  Novembers in Pittsburgh are always cold.  I didn’t mind because even at that age, I was fascinated by the tall buildings, colorful lights, and people all around.  The city always seemed warm, even when it was freezing.  By the time we entered the arena and found our seats, I was hot again.  My dad helped me take off my coat and stuff it under the seat.  He got us settled in and ready for the game.

I had to go to the bathroom.  And I was thirsty.

After I was taken care of, I nestled back into my seat.  It was almost game time.  I had to go the bathroom again.  That drink was a bad idea.

Back in my seat a few minutes later, I sat taking in the scenery.  All the lights, the sounds, and the fans.  I had never seen so many people in one place before, and they were all wearing the same colors.  The rows upon rows of cheering fans in a ring around the ice formed a black and yellow hurricane, moving and roaring with exhilaration.  I didn’t know what was going on, but I sure knew it was big.

Armored men clad in white were now racing around on the ice as a deep voice boomed from above.  The thousands of devotees responded emphatically.  The voice called out the names of the armored men, but I didn’t recognize any of them; then came the one name I did:  Mario Lemieux! My little heart jumped at those two words.  I was familiar with that name.  He was the only celebrity I knew of.  Mario was a superstar in Pittsburgh.  I was star struck.

At that moment, something clicked.  I somehow related to what was going on around me.  I was now intrigued, engaged in the event.  I was inclined to yell and scream and imitate the rest of the crowd as closely as possible.  Some new armored men made their way onto the ice, dressed in red and black.  “Who are they?” I asked my dad.

“The Devils.”

The other spectators began booing these new men.  They didn’t like the Devils.  I booed too.

Throughout the whole game, the crowd was overwhelmingly loud.  We didn’t stop yelling.  I still didn’t know what was occurring on the ice, but I could tell when something good happened.  We cheered with each goal our men in white achieved.  The Devils scored, too.  Aw, rats.  We jeered at them.  We all knew we were an integral part of this game, and we took our role very seriously.

Our Penguins ended up winning the game.  “We Are the Champions” blasted from the rafters high above, and we ate it up.  Suddenly I realized that I was part of something.  I, like every other person in this arena, had put forth my tiny piece of effort to accomplish something as a group.  That night, it wasn’t all about me.  It was all about us.



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