Ron is grinning… Dave is worried… And the Cup is in the House

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So… did Percy really pop Keith? Is the premier going to pull the plug?

Can I get back to you?

I’m still in the Metro Centre. It’s fun, frenzied Friday night. “The Cup is in the House,” and the house is bursting. Ten-thousand-five-hundred-and-ninety-five fans, plus media, scouts, officials, parents, friends of friends. Expectant, ready to implode, explode.

“We want the Cup!”

Will this — finally — be the night?

The puck hasn’t yet dropped and tonight’s 50-50 prize pot heads north of $20,000, double the usual regular-season end-of-game total. Feeling lucky…

Ron is grinning. Dave is worried. We’ve been coming to Moosehead games for 19 years. Ron knows how good this team is. Dave knows how often defeat has been snatched from the jaws of victory.

“Battle on the boards and the puck comes loose…”

At 5:32 of the first period — Stephen MacAulay, a 20-year-old from Cole Harbour whose mother recently died of cancer — wrists a hard shot from in front of the net… 1 – 0! We’re on our feet. Over in the next section, the “Pom-Pom Lady” — she’s been a fan as long as we have — shakes her pom poms. With vigour.

By the end of the first, it’s 3 – 0, the 50-50 pot is $30,000 and climbing (who had time during a period to buy tickets?) and the line-ups for the men’s washrooms snake like conga lines around the lower level. Heard inside the washroom: “Meet you back at the beer line.”

Ron is still grinning. Dave is still worried. “Don’t sit back,” he implores mid-way through the second period. “Skate!” He only looks like he’s not enjoying himself.

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The final seconds tick down…

“We will… We will… rock you!” For once, arena rock isn’t necessary. The crowd is into this. With 10 minutes still to go in the third period and the Mooseheads only up by two, the we-are-the-champions chant starts in the upper bowl above. “Olé. Olé. Olé-olé, olé…” No one remembers it’s a Spanish football chant.

Some guy from Prospect wins the 50-50 draw, takes home more than $39,000!

 

Two more late goals, including a second MacAulay goal into an empty net, seals it. It’s over. Ron is still grinning. Dave smiles. Finally. High fives all around our section of bad-times-and-good-times fans. See you in September…

Percy Paris? An election call? Oh, right, I’ll get on that.

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