Saturday, August 2, 2008

Two Cup Rings in his Sock Drawer! 8-2-08

Even when I try not to bring Islanders hockey into every conversation I have, it seems to find me, and sometimes in the most unusual places.

Last night my family and I headed down to Summer Fest for a few corn dogs (Big Angry Man) some Gyros (Big Angry Man) and pulled pork. (Okay that was me.) My daughter had been in town all day with her friends, so we (along with all the other parents we know) were doing a little cell phone “re-con” on our young teenagers.

“I saw your daughter. She’s over by the Zipper.”
“I saw your son; he’s by the band stand.”
“Your daughter is with my daughter, they just bought ice cream.”

Parents… I know… we’re all the same. But then the parents congregated in the parking lot while we waited for our kids to get bored and tired of the fair, or just run out of money; whichever came first.

While I was standing in the parking lot with some of Sayville’s finest Fire Fighters, my conversation with one of them (a Canadian by the way) did venture over towards hockey. He was telling me the story of how he was a very young man, barely of legal age at the time, and had his pick-up truck parked on Hempstead Tpke during the Stanley Cup parades with a full keg of beer in the back. We laughed and laughed about all the Islanders greats during those years. I told him I still see “Jethro” occasionally along with Nystrom and Morrow.

And then it happened. A man standing with another group of parents in the dark shouted out to me, “I know you! You’re 7th Woman! You’re DEE! I should have known seeing you in orange like that!”

Busted! Yeah, yeah. It’s August, I’m still wearing blue and orange. So shoot me. I really didn’t do it on purpose. It’s just what was on top of the drawer at the time.

The man who emerged from the darkness looked so familiar, but I didn’t know him. He looked like every Irish bartender I had ever adored for their quick wit, friendly smile and great stories.
“Dee, this is my friend Jerry. He worked for the Islanders back in the cup days. He was their stats guy.” Slack told me as Big Angry Man just rolled his eyes with that “Oh please don’t encourage her” look.

“I was the assistant PR director and stats guy for a few years when I was younger.” His face lit up in the dark knowing he had a willing, enthusiastic audience here.

“He has TWO Stanley Cup rings, Dee. TWO!” Slack continued knowing that I was basically the only woman in that group of parents that would find that more than special and almost mystical.
Jerry laughed. “It’s funny you bring that up. I had someone over the house a few weeks ago and they asked me to see them. It took me 20 minutes to find them. I had them somewhere in my sock drawer.”

I think I may have let out an audible gasp. “But I found them.” (uh... THANK GOD!)

He has never lost the passion for the sport or the team. We chatted in rapid succession about the past, the present and the future of the franchise. He told me the funny story of how he applied for the PR job so many years ago after only reading that the position had been vacated the day before. He talked about Joanne Holewa, one of the only employees from the glory days left at the team, and how wonderful she is. (I really have to meet this woman. She must be the Islanders version of “Money Penny” from the James Bond movies. Everyone has nothing but wonderful things to say about her.)

We talked about our beat writer Greg Logan and the great job he does, and then we talked about draft day and how we both felt about it.

We talked about Garth, and again, my husband rolled his eyes and let out a groan. We seem to have a bone of contention between us regarding our expectations of Mr. Snow’s abilities.

“Jerry, she drinks the kool-aid. You won’t get anything out of her.” I glared at my husband and gave my usual answer.

“Yes. It’s cherry and it mixes very well with vodka.” That always gets a laugh and I can quickly put the conversation back on track.

“I believe in Garth. I have to. What choice do we have?” Jerry said to me in all seriousness. “But you know who better be right?” I tried to think about where he could be going with this. “Ryan Jankowski.” Then I understood.

At the end of our conversation, since he had been in PR, we switched gears to the departure of Blog Father, Chris Botta. “You know, I never worked with him, but every time I was there, he knew exactly who I was. The guy was amazing. He knew everything. He was brilliant in that position and I know how tough it is.” Then he chuckled a little. “As good as he is, I’m surprised he stayed that long.” Referring to the turn-‘em-and-burn-’em corporate atmosphere of the PR biz.

Just as I was leaving, Jerry stopped me, “Hey, when you talk to him, tell him I send my regards.”

Thanks Jerry. I just did. I'm sure CB will appreciate it.*
*Note: After giving this some thought, I mentioned to Tiger Track Tom today that if CB had been able to end up with a Stanley Cup ring.... it probably would never leave his hand.


Anonymous said...

Hey Dee:

Nice meeting you last night with the hook & ladder crew. I wasn't expecting a blog entry - cool!

As I said last night, I won't be disappointed this year as expectations are pretty low. If they over achieve - great, if not - hello Taveras or the Big D who's moving up the rankings.

Thanks for the blog.

Alle the best.


7th Woman said...

Come on Jerry... You think I was going to let it go by? No way!! It's not every day you meet someone with ONE cup ring, let alone TWO. Hope to see you soon. Stop by the Blog Box at the barn any time and say 'Hi.' And if you've got any good stories... I'm always all ears (and a tape recorder and a pen and a camera. ;O)