Here's What I Know About Hockey—Nothing Much
Tuesday, June 15, 2010

So, here's the exciting news around these parts. 

One of my sisters had a splendiferous weekend. The kind of weekend that just seems to 
unfold around you, unexpected and dreamlike in its awesomeness. It was one of those 
times where the stars align perfectly in the universe and before you know it, you are sitting 
next to the Stanley Cup in a police escorted motorcade. 

That's right. THE Stanley Cup in a police escorted motorcade. 

My sister is an attorney in the city of Chicago with a lot of mover-shaker friends just like 
her. You know how that works, Internet. Like swims in the same fish pond as like. 

A friend called her the other night and invited her out. 

"Out" meant a car ride, a parade of screaming sirens escorting them and the Stanley Cup to 
a private rooftop party with the Chicago Blackhawks and some other folks with names like 
Kevin James and Vince Vaughn. 

While she was on the rooftop overlooking the city lights of Chicago sipping martinis with 
movie stars and hot hockey champions, I was vacuuming up the littered remains of a 
super-sized bag of Doritos that was ripped open in my car during a vicious tug of war 
game, called, "I had it first!"

That was one powerful run-on sentence there. It speaks sad volumes about my life. 

I really am glad for her. Really.

And since we're on the subject of hockey, I have a little Stanley Cup story of my own 
to tell you. 

A few years back, my Hubby celebrated the big 4-0. And since any reason is a good reason 
in my eyes for a party, I threw a big sha-bang for him. 

My littlest sister had a serious boyfriend at the time, a man from Chicago, a die-hard, I mean 
DIE-HARD  hockey nut. I was not aware of his obsession with everything hockey. I just 
knew he was very cute and my sister liked him a lot. 

They flew down for the party and my sister said when they walked into the hall at the big 
event, her boyfriend now husband almost had a heart attack. 

I didn't think to tell him who would be in attendance there. 

Now, I will admit something to you, Internet. I know nothing about sports. Nada. I grew 
up with a bunch of brothers who were sports obsessed, but I didn't give the actual sports part 
of things one lick of my time. I was more about the cute athlete friends my brothers brought 
over to the house. 

Although, I take that back. My brothers were all high school wrestlers. Very good high 
school wrestlers, in fact. Our high school wrestling team holds the world record for 
undefeated matches. A 35-year streak of wins, a feat of extraordinary measure. And my 
brothers were a big part of that wrestling dynasty. They were the first team of our high 
school to bring home the state championship. 

And within that wrestling dynasty, the parents and siblings of these wrestlers became one 
big wrestling family. It was a heady time, riding this wave of crowning glory with these 
warrior boys. 

And I can put you in a half-nelson faster than you can say, "Wrestling singlets are kinda 

I'm just sayin'.

So, the thing is, I don't ever look at the world in terms of sports. 

My Hubby's party is one of those times I probably should have. 

See, I have this dear friend. A friend I've spent many a night solving the world's problems 
over a bottle of wine. A friend who has taken good care of my kids and I, hers. A friend 
who brings wealth into my life with her love and abiding goodness. 

Anne was one of the first people at my door when my father died. And on that sapphire 
skyed afternoon of my father's funeral, she sat under the shady elms that my father had 
planted so many years ago, in my parent's backyard and just listened as I cried and talked 
and cried and talked about my dad.  

Anne knew. Because, she'd lost her father in the same way, unexpectedly and far too soon. 

She is that kind of friend.

Anne's husband, Jay, was the general manager of our hockey team. 

A hockey team in Florida. 

We were laughed at for awhile. As we lost and lost and lost some more, no one took our 
Florida team on ice very seriously. 

But, behind the scenes, Jay was rising up in the ranks, scouting all over the world for some 
of the best unknown hockey talents. 

My hubby at the same time, had the majority of his clients out of state and so Anne and I 
called our hubbies, the part-time hubbies and fathers. And we went about raising our children—
my 3, her 5—without much help from these men who were out conquering the world. 

Along the way, Jay nabbed the GM position and a little hockey team from Florida became a 
serious contender on the world stage. 

My now brother-in-law has a tight friendship with Jay, cemented over their love of hockey. 

I neglected to tell my brother-in-law that the GM of our hockey team would be at the party 
that night, because I just don't think of Jay and Anne in that way. 

I think of them as my friends, first and foremost. 

You all know the rest of the story. Under Jay's capable hands a Stanley Cup came to Florida. 

I wasn't at our ice forum on that victorious night because I was home watching it on the TV 
with 2 little children besides my own who were too young to be a part of their Daddy's 
victorious moment. 

We danced and cheered around my family room as we watched their Daddy raise that cup 
over his head. 
It was a great night. 

Jay shared his victory with us and I, too, have had the privilege of partying in the presence 
of the legendary Stanley Cup. And what a majestic piece of hockey history it is, up close 
and personal.  

And yes, I know this picture is jacked up with the pixels. This is from our old computer and 
a few months back, my hubby hooked up the old modem for me and I retrieved a ton of our 
old pictures, including all of our Stanley Cup pictures. I just noticed today that the resolution 
makes us all blurry and I look as if I have wolf teeth. Of course, my hubby is out of town and 
when he tried to instruct me over the phone, how to hook up the old modem in his cave man 
speak, it ended up with some yelling and perhaps a few frustrating tears on my part. So, for 
today, here's us, all jacked up, with the Stanley Cup.

I am sad to say, this week my dear friends packed up their house and moved away. 

Our hockey team changed ownership hands along the way and unfortunately, the new 
owners had their own administration already formulated. Jay was not a part of their plan. 

They moved back to their hometown this week, to a charming little town in the East named 
after its famous candy bar founder. 

Last week, at a graduation party for their simply amazing daughter Theresa, who happened 
to be the valedictorian of her high school, Jay was urging me to come for a visit in the near 
future. He spoke of the town's world famous spa and the scent of chocolate that wafts through 
the air, surrounding the town with the perfume of God's greatest delicacy.  

I was all, "How long before you'll have the guest bedroom unpacked?"

A few of Anne's closest friends got together the other night. Anne wanted to keep it small. 
She didn't want to make a big deal over any of this because she didn't want to say goodbye. 
In fact, she refused to let any of us say the words. We all just pretended tomorrow would 
bring another day of kids and get togethers and life in our small town and so I just said, 
"See you later."

And she left. 

And in my pocket, I have all these years of sitting around her kitchen table working together 
as we built our little school from the start of dreams; raising these lovely children for so 
much of our years as single parents; laughing until our sides hurt over good wine and the spill 
of gossip; doling out lunches together as school volunteers; talking on the phone in hurried 
snatches of time in between naps and little hands grabbing for us in their constant need; long, 
lingering lunches as our children grew, no longer draining us with their tireless need; standing 
back together, as we watched our oldest children spread their wings and soar into the great 
wide world. 

I will keep all these memories of us safe, here with me, as she jumps into her car and heads to 
her new home, so many, many miles now between us. 

No goodbye. See you later, my darling friend. 

There is a new chapter waiting for my friends. In fact, a chapter that has taken on some last 
minute exciting twists that I am not at liberty to discuss. 

I'll just say sometimes, the universe gets it right. Sometimes good things do happen to those 
who deserve it the most. And sometimes, God hands you one of the most marvelous gifts He 
can give. A treasured friend, more lovely than all the jewels in the world. 

See you later, Jay, Anne, Theresa, Bobby, Libby, Ryan and Kevin. May life bring you joy 
and splendor for all the days to come. You will be missed. 

Today's Definite Download: Jay is a serious Bruce Springsteen fan and with the spoils of 
running a hockey team in a venue that also holds all of our major concerts, comes some pretty 
fine perks. 

When U2 came to town a few years back, Jay snagged me some tickets before they were offered 
to the general public. He kept telling me not to be disappointed, that they weren't the best seats in 
the house, but he did his best. 

Jay was fibbing. 

My seats were front row. I couldn't have been any closer unless I'd been siting on Bono's lap. Unfortunately, Jay didn't have that kind of pull. Of course, I did try to arrange the lap thing. 

When The Boss came to town Jay held a little party in his office and then led us through the 
back hallways and up to the private elevator that led to our fabulous seats. At the elevator, 
Jay stopped and informed us how to get to our seats. 

Our whole group chimed in, "But, where are you going?"

And Jay said in his humble way, "Oh, I've been invited backstage."

And off he and Anne went to shake hands with the Crown Prince of rock and roll, while we 
shuffled to our seats, more than a little jealous of his luck. He joined us right before the show 
with an ear splitting grin and just the words, "It was cool."

For today, "Thunder Road". A song whose words are tattooed in the well of my heart. 
A work of such poetic magnitude, even in my teenage years, I understood that this man was 
so much more than a rock star. Bruce strung words together like intoxicating spells and set them 
to music and the world of rock and roll would never be the same because of him and his poetry.

And when The Boss plunged his guitar into the familiar chords of this song, my tight circle of 
friends, lifted our paper cups filled with wine and screamed our approval and danced together 
and sang every single word along with Bruce like we were once again, those teenaged kids 
from so many years before. 

That memory, along with all the others, will linger in my heart for all my days. 

See you later, friends. 

The screen door slams 
Mary's dress waves 
Like a vision she dances across the porch
As the radio plays
Roy Orbison sings for the lonely
Hey, that's me and I want you only
Don't turn me home again
I just can't face myself alone again.
Don't run back inside
Darlin', you know just what I'm here for
So you're scared and you're thinking
That maybe we ain't that young anymore
Show a little faith there's magic in the night
You ain't a beauty, buy hey you're alright
Oh, and that's alright with me.

You can 'neath your covers
And study your pain
Make crosses from your lover
Throw roses in the rain
Waste your summer praying in vain
For a savior to rise from these streets
Well, no I'm no hero
That's understood
All the redemption I can offer girl
Is beneath this dirty hood
With a chance to make it good somehow
Hey, what else can we do now
Except roll down the window
And let the wind blow
Back your hair
Well, the night's busting open
These two lanes will take us anywhere
We got one last chance to make it real
To trade in these wings on some wheels
Climb in back
Heaven's waiting on down the tracks
Oh-oh come take my hand
We're riding out tonight to case the promised land
Oh-oh Thunder Road oh thunder Road
Lying out there like a killer in the sun
Hey I know it's late we can make it if we run
Oh Thunder Road sit tight take hold
Thunder Road. . . 


Liz said...

That's so fun, both for your sister and for your Stanley Cup celebrations! Being a Chicagoan, I want to give the Hawks a shout - GO HAWKS! Also wanted to mention that my husband bikes and wears a singlet of sorts for that. Not exactly an attractive piece of clothing...

Unknown said...

I'm not a hockey fan, either. but I get that the Stanley Cup is a big deal!

Dee said...

How cool! I'm not into sports either, but everyone has heard of the Stanley Cup.

As for the friend, may you meet again soon.

LisaPie said...

Joann, you write the most beautiful and complete tribute pieces to those you love. It is so awe-inspiring to me that you do this. And especially, that you do it when they are still around. A true gift.

I heart you!

A. B. Keuser said...

What a fun tale! It's always sad when a new chapter starts, but I'm sure that you'll have wonderful times visiting them.

P.S. Congrat's on winning the Query Critique!

Bossy Betty said...

As always, you impress me, you Big Shot! Cleaning up an entire bag of Doritos? You go!!!

Oh, and that Stanley Cup thing was really great too.

Mrs. Ohtobe said...

Who is this Stanley person and why is his cup so gosh darn big? ;)

alicia said...

Wow, some fantastic experiences and connections ya have there. But the part of your story that struck the hardest was the bit about your dear friend. Truly touching. And rare in this lifetime to connect with someone so well.

Shell said...

What wonderful friends. I was squealing a little for you, at getting front row seats. :)

Noelle said...

There was not an ounce of braggart tone in this post...not an ounce.

It was a beautiful tribute and I got a little teary eyed at the thought of you saying goodbye.

Go visit the lovely town of Hershey soon...and bring us all some chocolate! :)

Oh...and I heart you too!

Deborah said...

What a blast you all had!

All I know about hockey is I dated a hockey for a bit a few years ago and he had a fabulous butt!

Pat said...

I'm a hockey fan as far as when the Black Hawks are in the Stanley Cup! Go Hawks!

I'm from the Chicagoland area. It's nice to have a winning team every once in awhile!

You wrote such a wonderful story of your friendship over the years with Ann and her family. Your friendship will stay strong not matter how many miles separate you!

Anonymous said...

We have hockey in Huntsville. I just like it for the fights and cheap beer and hot dogs.

Kelly said...

Who is seething with jealousy over the fact that you got to see, touch and feel Lord Stanley's Cup? That would be ME.

During the "Born in the USA" tour, some friends had not only tickets but backstage passes as well and said they could take one of us. My sisters and I clamored to be chosen but nooooo, they took my dad.

A couple of years ago, my best friend moved about 25 miles away and it may as well be 250 miles. We still have our hours-long phone calls but I miss SEEING her. Our schedules just never seem to get it right.

One Photo said...

In England hockey is a game girls play on a grass field and was actually my favorite sport at school, yet I cannot seem to get into the american male ice version of it at all.

Great post as always Joann.

Anonymous said...

Wow Joann! I love that you shared those pictures! And what a story. I love good friendships. So, when is the guest bedroom getting unpacked?

Hulk said...

I drank champagne from The Turner Cup, our IHL team's Stanley equivalent.

Also, I partied with and peed next to some famous people. FB friend me and read my "25 Things..."

I know, they don't compare. But still...

Amethyst Anne said...

Stanley cup.
Private party with the Chicago Blackhawks.
*chirp chirp... Mouth still open*

Yeah for friends,even though they are gone from your physical proximity, you know they are never gone from your heart.


ProudSister said...

You forgot to mention one of your best hockey stories. Giving my hockey-loving, Jewish fiance a team- signed Lightning hockey stick for his FIRST CHRISTMAS EVER with our family. Totally & completely ruining him for the rest of his life.

Great post! Those wonderful people will be missed, but surely we'll cross paths again. Of course, that might be while my hubbie is stalking them. I think they'll understand.

Cheeseboy said...

I need to know Jay. Jay would be a good man to know. Could he get me in Beyonce's lap? I'd like to be in her lap.

That sentence was not run-on and was constructed perfectly.

I once touched the Sugar Bowl trophy after my beloved Utes won the Sugar Bowl against Alabama and it sent shivers down my spine that I still feel to this day., so I kinda know how you feel. kinda.

Judie said...

Just look at you, sister, with that big honking trophy!! That trophy should have your name on it for being such a kind, loving, and loyal friend.

You get out of life what you put into it, and you have certainly put a lot of love into people's lives lately.

Thank you, Joann.

rachel... said...

Oh, that's so cool about... Wait. What?

I'm sorry. You lost me st Vince Vaughn. ;)

(Kidding. Great post, Joann!)

Katie's Dailies said...

Both kinds of hockey are a blast! I LOVED playing field hockey when I lived in England, and then going to the ice hockey games in DC were WAY better than watching them on tv. The sounds of the guys slamming up against the boards, seeing all their toothless faces up close and personal... although the crowds were a little scary at the games.

This post was in no way written bragging-ly. No. Way. At. All. : )

Liz Mays said...

I just can't get over the size of that cup!!!!

injaynesworld said...

I want to be your sister for a few hours. That's about as long as I can walk in heels.

Then I'll come back to your place, kick off my shoes and party ''cause you seem to know how to do it right.

Ally said...

that's a big deal! as you know from reading my blog post today, i hate sports ha ha :)

T.J. said...

what an amazing story! Your Kevin Bacon like brush with the Stanley Cup is only topped by your actual blast from the past photo with it (wolf teeth- ha!). That think is immense!!

Ps- my brother was a wrestler, so I respect the glory of it all, but another gross thing? Those ears!

jayayceeblog said...

Reading that was just plain fun. Is the little town in the East Hershey???

Gigi said...

The paragraph starting with "And in my pocket" is one of the best I've read on any blog, anywhere.

Awesome. :)

Ca88andra said...

What a wonderful post with some fabulous memories.

JennyMac said...

Why the GIANT trophy for every hockey celebration? :) It cracks me up.

Bonnie said...

What a beautiful tribute! You are an amzing and gifted writer, I know the universe will get it right for you too!

McVal said...

I like hockey in that I do like ice. in my glass...
What a sweet story of friendship! I've had friends like that too. Not as well connected as yours... but very dear to my heart.
Well - now I understand your photo of you and Bono on the side panel!

gmontalvo13 said...

not a big hockey fan either, but that is a huge deal! (so people say) :) jk i get it and you are sooo lucky to have even been that close!
fabulous pictures!

Bossy Betty said...

Joann! I left a comment here when it was posted. Wonder where it is? Did you take it off because of its brilliance?


Congrats on winning the contest! Yeah!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

So not a bragfest - it is your cool ife!

I am sorry your friend is gone, but at least she was there during the eyars you both needed each other the most.

I am sure you will see her during a book tour :-)

Lula Lola said...

I'm glad to catch up with you! I've been on a nutty trip, following my husband and leaving again soon!
I have to say, we all lose when we play "I had it first."
Your story of your friends and their move makes me want to tear up. My best friend, since my teen years, my college roommate, my maid of honor, the chic who held my leg for me to deliver my first born, moved to New Mexico last year. I miss her so much!
And your download for today! Awesome! Bruce is a poet! Love him so much!

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