I was born and raised in San Diego in a family that wasn't into sports, period, including me for a long time. I always liked the idea of hockey, though. It sounded so exotic - the largest amount of ice I'd ever seen was in an ice cube tray, so a sport played on a large sheet of it definitely piqued my curiosity. Watching the Mighty Ducks movie is probably what originally opened my eyes to its existence.
Also, around '97-'98, I started talking to this girl online who was from Michigan and was a Wings fan, so that made me aware of the Wings, who were obviously doing really great at the time. I've always had a romanticized view of the Midwest, since my family is originally from Nebraska, and I grew up hearing stories about farm life and stuff, and somehow through this girl, the Red Wings kind of worked themselves into my vision of the Midwestern world. I still didn't get into hockey at that time, unfortunately, but it was always there in the back of my mind.
What finally did it was reading a story in French class about a kid who was a Habs fan in the '50s. After the class was over and I was on Winter Break, I was bored out of my mind and looking for something to watch on TV. I flipped by a hockey game, and I thought, hey, I just read that story about hockey - maybe I'll give this a shot. It stuck. I should've been a Ducks fan, I guess, but I'm a sucker for history, tradition, and nice-looking uniforms, so I couldn't commit. Plus, they're not in MY city/county, so I don't think I owe them any loyalty, anyway. Then I thought back to the Red Wings fan I used to know, and the more I learned about the Wings, the more I realized they were exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to watch hockey in its natural habitat, in a cold climate, where they'd been playing it for around 80 years and took pride in it - not as some sort of weird anomaly out here in the desert that popped up around Disneyland when I was 8 years old.
Sure, I liked their winning record, too, I won't deny it - I don't think I would've ever considered becoming a Blue Jackets fan, for example - but it's more than just the winning, it's the commitment to excellence, self-respect, and personal responsibility embodied by guys like Yzerman and Lidstrom that I know will serve as an example that will last long after they're gone, even if the wins column starts to take a turn for the worse (which it has). That's what keeps me going today - the organization knows how to do things the right way, and it will continue to pass on that culture to our future. Like it or not, we're at the end of an era, and it's not easy to start a new one, but we've got the know-how and pride to pull it off. Jeez, I wrote a lot, sorry.
Edited by MulesWillFly93, 14 April 2013 - 02:02 AM.