Hometown Pride, Hockey Style

It is safe to say that I would not be the hockey fan I am today had I not grown up watching the AHL play in my hometown. The Binghamton Whalers (affiliated with the now-moved-to-North-Carolina-and-renamed-the-Hurricanes Hartford Whalers) were the team I remember most, but neither they, nor the Dusters before them, nor the Rangers after them ever brought a Calder Cup championship to Binghamton. That honor would go to the Senators — and just two years ago.

Tonight, I got to see that cup, with my my hometown’s name engraved on it, at the AHL Showcase* game played at Verizon Center.

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Pretty cool, no?

If you’ve ever seen the commercials on TV with the very formal-looking, white-gloved man who accompanies the Stanley Cup around, you can be assured that the Calder Cup puts on no such airs. It was monitored by a mostly-distracted young woman, so you could actually touch it if you wanted to. She did take my picture with the cup, however, so she’s all right by me.

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* The AHL Showcase was supposed to be a bonus this year – an opportunity for the Caps’ minor-league team to play before the big club’s fans in the middle of the season. Of course, because of the lockout, it may be the only game I see at Verizon Center this year.

Birthday Memories

It’s my birthday today, and as such, probably not a bad time to be introspective – reflect on the past year, look ahead to the next, set some goals… Or, I could just post cute pictures of my birthday party from when I was a kid. Yeah, that sounds more like it.

(What can I say? It’s Monday, I worked all day, had a little birthday celebration with friends this evening, and am too tired to navel-gaze tonight.)

Opening my gifts.
Opening my gifts.

I don’t have a lot of photos of my kid-birthdays – I think most of them are still at my mom’s house. For some reason, though, I have about a half-dozen photos from my seventh birthday, which I am sure is what they are, because the photo printer helpfully tagged them “Apr 78” in the bottom corner.

Heather shows me the details of her gift.
Heather shows me the details of her gift.

I don’t remember anything about this party at all. I don’t even remember the names of everyone in the pictures, though I can identify – and am still in touch with, thanks to the wonders on Facebook – a couple of them. In fact, one of them, Heather, mentioned that she has a really specific memory of losing a game at one of my birthday parties. I suspect this might be the party she recalls, so I thought I’d share the pictures here.

Time for cake!
Time for cake!

I don’t know why I am wearing what looks like a Holly Hobby dress, but I am sure I thought it was the cutest thing on earth at the time.

And that’s all I’ve got for my birthday this year. Maybe I’ll be introspective later in the week. But probably not.