Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Back home at the Tank

Sure, I missed my family and friends, my dog and my cat, and my big bed and squishy pillow while I was studying abroad in London for the past 4 months. That's only to be expected when one embarks on life-altering adventures, right? What I unexpectedly missed the most, however, were my San Jose Sharks.

My love for hockey's greatest team was initiated in the 3rd grade, when my older brothers allowed my sister and I to take their two coveted spots next to my dad at a game. I spent all three periods in complete and utter confusion. Why would the team announce when they were about to perform an especially good move ("Sharksss on the power play!")? How did the players know when to jump on and off the ice despite a time out never being called? And what's up with all the fighting?!

Eleven years later, I've come to know the game inside and out, backward and forward, and up and down. I regard the "Tank" as my second home, and the players as my extended family.

This dedication made it painful to observe the Sharks' incredible success this season from across the pond. Having resorted to checking the scores and fan forums online each morning, my heart ached for the rowdy crowd and the inevitable chaos and excitement that each hockey game holds. My love for London, while substantial, was hugely marred by it's lack of an ice-hockey team. I mean, "football's" great and all, but it's severely lacking in ice, and skates, and sticks, and pucks, and... well, it's just not hockey.

As my Bay Area homecoming date approached, the superstitious side of me began to worry that my return to San Jose would somehow throw the Sharks off of their phenomenal winning streak. My mom assured my this fear was unfounded and unwarranted, as our team had enjoyed success for many years, despite my presence in the country. Worries aside, I attended the Sharks vs. Rangers game the very day I arrived back in the United States.

Overcome with emotion in the first period, I cried when the players skated through the Shark head at the beginning of the game. Overcome with a desire for breakfast in the second period (it was morning in London, after all), I scarfed down a pepperoni pizza. Overcome with jet lag in the third period, I fell asleep on my sister's shoulder.

I might have missed the end of the game, but I was wonderfully and comfortably home.

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