You can take the boy out of Cowtown, but you can’t take the Cowtown out of the boy. It has been seventeen years since I last called Calgary my home, but I will always be a Calgarian and with that I am proud to say that I have the honour of being a fan of the Calgary Flames! For those you who do not have the privilege of being a Flames fan I would like to extend a little bit of club history. The Flames came to Calgary from Atlanta in 1980 and in that first year made it to the Stanley Cup semis falling to the North Stars in six. In 1983 they moved into their current home the Saddledome. In 1986, ’89, and ’04 the Flames reached the Cup finals, only once in ’89 hoisting Lord Stanley’s Cup in victory. Over the last twenty-seven years they have reached the playoffs 20 times and conference finals 4 times.
History aside my true passion as a fan comes from the men who have worn the flaming C on their sweater. One man stands above the rest, Hall of Famer Lanny McDonald. He defined what it means to be a Flame. He wore red, he bled red, and he had the greatest red stash I’ve ever seen! When I was five or six, I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. McDonald. While eating dinner with my family at a restaurant I wandered off from our table. When found I had befriended Lanny and was sitting on his lap, eating his French fries. A very proud moment for my mother!
Being in the US it is difficult to watch and cheer as much as I would like but in the early spring of 2004, my life as a student stopped and I became a full time Flames fan. Through three epic rounds of the playoffs, the Flames pushed my emotional limits beating the Canucks in seven, the Red Wings in six, and the Sharks in six. They were the first Canadian team to reach the finals in a decade and faced the Tampa Bay Lighting. Seriously! A team from Florida in the finals?!?! They don’t even have snow, they have ice in their drinks not in every city park, FLORIDA?!?! ARGGGGG! As you can probably tell it did not end well. After six back and forth, heart pounding and gut retching games, the Flames….fell….to the….Lightning. I would like to take a moment of silence. We were so close. Just one more goal, one less penalty, one more save, ONE MORE WIN!!! How could this happen. A team from Canada loses THE CUP to Florida, or you kidding me. Despite the disappointment a few great things happened. It brought not only a city or province (their like states!) together, it unified an entire country. They were Canada’s team and the Sea of Red blanketed and entire nation. When I was able to work through the denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, I eventually reached acceptance. It was then that I realized that it is better to have loved and lost then to never have loved at all. The Flames may only be one team, but they are my team and my heart will forever burn with the passion of the flaming C.
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