One of the problems with being involved in a business you grew up watching as a kid...you lose the innocence of being a fan. I've been a member of the Score roster since 2002 and there have been very few times since then where the fan in me comes out and the objectivity (if that's even a word) fades away.
One was the magic that was 2005. As a life long Chicago White Sox fan, when you work in a business that has to look as objectively as possible at a product you grew to love...it's tough to be as emotionally attached as the average fan. 2005 was an exception, it was something that not only my father waited fifty years to see, but many friends never got to see. When the White Sox clinched the American League pennant by winning the series over the Angels 4 games to 1, I can remember sitting in the aisle between the cubicles and all four TV's showing what I thought I would never see in my lifetime. I sat there and starting crying because the fan in me was too strong and overtook any objectivity (again, if that's even a word) as a member of the Chicago sports media.
Since 2005 my "fandom" hasn't been heard from. Yes, even the 2006 Chicago Bears Superbowl run wasn't enough to bring out the "Bob Swirsky" in me and order a dog and a beer. BTW...I work for the Chicago Bears Radio Network too....so it's tough to be a fan and cheer when you're working too.
Last night (Thurs.) was different than any other time I can remember however. I was not in Chicago the last time the Blackhawks made the playoffs as I remember driving up to Illinois to visit family and hearing the Hawks game on St. Louis radio somewhere in southern Illinois. This is a franchise that for years was embarrassing to say that you are a fan of. Everything from the notion you couldn't watch home games to a team that sold talent after talent after talent away for nothing. This is a team that five years ago finished with 59 points total and since their last playoff appearance have brought in coach after coach after coach. Remember Theo Fluery....??
Last night was the culmination of alot of hard work, dedication to the product and great marketing. The fans were always there....you just had to knock and say hello. Is this the dawn of a new age of hockey in Chicago? It's too early to say for me. However like many that were in attendance last night, and many watching in bars and their homes......I was a fan again.
Thank you Chicago Blackhawks.....the old feelings are nice to have once again.