In just a little less than two weeks Blues fans will assemble at the doors waiting for them to open and flood the concourses of the Enterprise Center. At the same time, families will finish their dinner and gather to watch the opening ceremonies of the 2019-2020 Blues season. Fans will be happy, witnessing the raising of a championship banner as our St. Louis Blues begin their season as defending champions. Emotions should be high for both fans and players when the banner is lifted to the rafters. Tears of joy will flow, and why shouldn’t they? This is still our time to shine as a city and an organization.
As opening night approaches, I began to think about our fans and their traditions each season. Every Blues fan and perhaps any sports fan has a personal tradition they hold themselves accountable for whether it be making sure they are at every home opener or purchasing the newest gear to represent the team. In regards to myself, I buy a new hat each year. It seems silly, but the hat chosen is one that is worn from the time of purchase until the puck drops for the next season.
My Yearly Tradition
Typically, I purchase my hat at the team store within the first few games of the season. I sport it any chance I get, and that specific hat becomes my hat for the season. Once the season is over, I place the cap on the shelf, and it is never worn again. For the first time in many years, I can say that I will be sad to put this away. The ebbs and flows of last season put this hat through the wringer, and I have worn it with pride. Hell, it’s been to Mexico three times since last October because one does not travel without representing their team!
The photo above represents three things. The hat on my laptop is the first image. The background features someone standing at the bottom of a hill. This represents the team starting over in our quest to reach the top once more. Essentially, every team in the NHL should start with this mindset as they all begin their journey to the door that opens and welcomes them to the playoffs. The last piece of this picture shown is a post-it note. The sticky note is held down by two pieces of scotch tape as the glue has long since lost its grip. The note was given to me by a dear friend as inspiration. I am hopeful our boys in blue hold the same sentiment.
The post-it note reads as follows: “Set high expectations *must hold myself accountable for equipping people to meet those expectations* -find ways to uplift people and let them shine –communicate expectations specifically.”
If you are still reading, I am about to bring it all together for you. For 51 years our fans have circled the wagons and supported this team. We have witnessed greatness with so many seasons and games whether it be the Monday Night Miracle against Calgary, the Brett Hull era, the signing of Wayne Gretzky or the triumphant game seven with Troy Brouwer’s goal against Chicago.
The tales we could individually tell are endless, but one thing is for sure. The chapter for last season is closing. Once we begin the new season, it is time to buckle up for another ride. For myself, I’ll be in the team store looking for the hat I will wear for the year. Others might choose something different such as a hat, shirt, jersey, or even a player to follow. Either way, your tradition matters to you in some form or fashion and drives your love of the game.
When I look at the picture featured, I think of all the memories that hat held for the last season — knowing that all teams start at the bottom of the proverbial hill. Setting high expectations is a must for this team for sure. Opening night is on the horizon. Yes, emotions and tears will flow as the championship banner is lifted. I am confident the atmosphere will be electric on opening night. We have a few more preseason games before the curtain drops, and we officially start defending the cup. It has been the ride of a lifetime. I don’t know your traditions with each Blues season, but certainly, I welcome any comments. Thank you for reading. Take care of yourselves and each other.