If anyone has ever questioned why you love your team, you give them reasons for that love. Some are as simple as, ‘I’ve grown up with hockey in my family’ or ‘My family is from the area, so I became a fan’. However, I can not give you those reasons for why I love the San Jose Sharks. I don’t have simple reasons or answers why. Sometimes, I’m not even sure what it is that I love about this team. I just do. There’s a love there that is undeniable, unmatched, unrequited, unmeasurable and just about every other UN you can think of.
Not only do I live in California; where people look at us and say “Ohmigod, there’s hockey in California?” But I live in Northern California. Sacramento to be exact, where we have the Sacramento Kings and Sacramento Monarchs Basketball. The only hockey close to me is at a local rink made up of 40 something year olds who could have only dreamed to be in the NHL. So while growing up with little to no NHL connection, I still managed to fall in love with the team from the Bay Area.
Now, this love all started on January 24, 1998. Yes a mere 12 years ago. My parents had just made the move to Seattle and the following August, I was to join them. More on that later though. To be honest, I don’t remember much about my first game. I just know that my aunt and I were sitting in the upper bowl of what was then known as the San Jose Arena. As a wide-eyed 13 year old, my aunt pointed out the Sharks Head and simply said “Just watch”
Now, if any of you have been to a game at what is now HP Pavilion, you’ll know that they lower the Sharks Head to the ice and the players skate through with smoke coming from it. To me, it’s the best entrance to a game out there. Anyways, to make a long story from getting too long. My wandering eyes found their way to one player on the ice. His movement was glorious and passionate. It captured my eye and I have not looked back since. Now, he did not score any goals that night, nor did he get an assist. In fact, I don’t think he showed up on the score sheet at all. The Sharks tied the game that night, when ties were still allowed. John MacLean scored the goal for us that night.
Before I tell you all who this player is, I just have to say that I love this player with all things in me. It does not matter that he is no longer on this team, or that I’ve never met him. His love for the game is the same as my love for this team. Der Mann, begann es alle für mich, und mein ganze Herz hat, ohne es zu wissen, ist Marco Sturm.
My love of this team continued even while living in cities such as Seattle and Phoenix. Yes, Phoenix. Coyotes country. So, I do hold a soft spot for them because Phoenix was my home for 3 years. Now while in Seattle, I was able to get my hockey fix by watching the Seattle Thunderbirds. Just the year before I moved to Seattle, current Shark and ex-captain, Patrick Marleau was on the Thunderbirds. Now, I never got to see him play, but I was able to watch Scott Parker play for the team as well as see ex-Shark , Brad Stuart play for the Regina Pats.
But now, at 26, my unrequited love has never waivered. It has stuck with me through 12 years of amazing seasons (03/04 & 09/10) to the NHL lockout. I keep all of my game tickets from every game that I attend and still have my very first one.
Over the years, I’ve had my players come and go. It took me a while to learn that was a part of the game. So, if you ask me why I love the San Jose Sharks, I will just pull out all my old game tickets and memories over the past 12 years. From the 5 on 3 against Edmonton where both Scott Hannan and Mark Smith lost their sticks to my very first game.
This is why I love the San Jose Sharks and no other team.