I am not a day-one fan.
I don’t remember the team almost moving or any of the turbulence that built the mettle of this fanbase to withstand anything. I don’t remember Paul Kariya, or Forsberg the Elder, or Kimmo Timonen, or Jordin Tootoo. I only saw Barry Trotz coach for a bit over a year and I never saw Ryan Suter wearing anything but that awful olive green.
Nevertheless, the run the Predators are on still means so much to me, and others like me.
I’m not going to give my sports fandom life story because it’s dull and mostly jokes about being from Atlanta. But the moment I went to a hockey game, I was hooked.
I started watching hockey on TV shortly after I moved to Nashville, about four years ago. I happened to notice there was a matinee game in town on Saturday, and I managed to snag a ticket for $45 to see the Preds square off against the Blackhawks for an 0-1 score. Thinking back, it must have been the most boring game imaginable, but I was hooked. Patric Hornqvist throwing himself across the ice to prevent the empty-net goal sold me. (I was still a bit confused about where the goalie had gone.)
A few weeks later I got an email about season ticket sales and toddled myself down to the arena and got a half season package. The rest is history.
Well, not quite. I just loved the sport, but I went to the draft party where the team acquired Seth Jones. On the shuttle ride to that Hawks game, I had heard about this new player the Predators had traded for just a couple of days before. So there were two players I was invested in. I was going to go to the games, cheer on those guys, and enjoy it.
Over time, though, I got invested. It took me a while to be able to tell all the guys on the roster apart, and there was the rotating cast of goaltenders, but by the end of the season and the Preds lost to Dallas to officially end their postseason hopes, I was devastated.
It’s been a steady climb ever since. Typing this out, it’s hard to believe how few years it’s really been, but I’ve poured out four years of my life writing and talking and legitimately doing work here about this team. I don’t have any nostalgic ties to the broadcast crew, or a puck from the first game, or even memories of more uncertain times. But I’m on this wagon now, and what a ride it’s been.