Thursday, October 25, 2012

Brooklyn is Great for the Isles, But not for ME

Brooklyn: a borough of New York geographically situated on the body of land known as Long Island – sort of. The borders of Kings County may be on the land mass, but ask anyone from Nassau or Suffolk and they will set you straight. Ask anyone from Kings County for that matter and they will disavow the fact. Brooklyn is BROOKLYN. Long Island is Lawng Gisland. It’s somewhat the same way as when you’re Italian -- that’s not good enough. We have to know what kind of Italian are you? Geography separated by dialects.

They will be the Brooklyn New York Islanders. Look at those words grouped together. The structure alone separates them from their storied history. They will become Brooklyn New York’s – Islanders. They will no longer be ours. Well, sure. Manhattan is an island too and the Mayor of New York City is happy as a clam to be getting additional revenue from the team and their fans. But, has Michael Bloomberg ever seen an Islander game? Has he been to the Coliseum? Maybe he’s seen a Ranger game. MSG is probably closer to his office.

Do I sound bitter? Okay, I’m sorry. I completely understand the reason Charles Wang has done this and I don’t fault him. No, this is just me feeling sorry for ME. The entire move will be beneficial to the organization, but that doesn’t mean it’s good for – ME.

Hockey Games at the Coliseum have become part of my life. Islander events are what graced my calendar year after year and often took precedence over family functions. They certainly took precedence over some of my work schedule. I spent more time in the company of players and Isles employees than I did with most of my own family members. Islander hockey isn’t just entertainment for me. It is my social network, my therapist, my creative hobby and my family tradition. It is a large part of my life; usually the part that helped me cope with the other parts that are more stressful and less enjoyable.

You don’t have to tell me that I’m not really losing the Islanders. I understand that. The zip-code and area code are changing, but the time zone and language are not. However, the 28 miles that will separate the Barclay’s Center from the House That Arbour Built feels like a million.

My only brother moved to Florida and I see him a few times a year. My best friend moved to California and I see her occasionally. It will be the same with ‘my team.’ Technology will keep us connected, but distance will separate us – and I will deal with it. I will have to. Life is forever changing and we must change with it. My daughter is in college, my parents are in their twilight years, I lost one Dalmatian only to be replaced by one, then two, then three, then four Huskies. (Why the hell do I have FOUR Huskies??) Nothing stays the same. We change, we adapt, we move on, we deal. We have to.

I will get over this sense of impending loss and figure out a way to be happy for the Isles. I’ll try to open my mind and embrace the future fans who will not have the same history with the team as I have had. There will be no more tailgate parties, no post game cocktails at Champions, no Chris King radio broadcasts from The Blue Line and no Season Ticket Holder picnics at the park on Hempstead Turnpike. New fans will have missed the Islanders Business Club, the Meet & Greets at Gate 1, the Town Hall Meetings, the bands and balloons on opening days, Jello shots with the GM and Dominick’s Islander Mania bar-b-ques.

They will not have taken time off from work to rally for the idea of an Emerald City rising up on 77 acres of asphalt - more than a few times. These new fans will make their own memories and traditions at Barclays and they will embrace the Islanders as we have for the last 40 years. But I don’t think they will love them the way we have. Not even in another 40 years.
To all those friends I have made over the years because of this team I say Thank You for the great times and laughter that we shared and the memories that will never leave me.

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