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It takes a lot to impress me. Very rarely do I walk out of a movie, a concert, a social gathering or sporting event shaking my head in pleasurable disbelief. Not to say I don’t enjoy any of these things, because I often do. It’s just I don’t get blown away very often.
I’m much more likely to say, “Eh, it was allright” or “It was pretty cool” than I am to say, “Holy f’ing Christ! That was unbelievable.” Even things like Christmas and riding roller coasters, events that in my childhood were met with unbridled excitement, are now occurrences that I often just associate with binge drinking and vomiting.
A lifetime filled with pessimism and seeing one too many disturbing Internet videos has made it difficult for me to be overly surprised or delighted. So for something to leave me speechless and grinning for over three hours, it has to truly be special. And that’s just what this past Friday night was—special. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. It was something that, until dementia ravages my brain in old age, I will never forget–all thanks to a simple hockey game.
From the second I sauntered into Fenway to the minute I staggered out, I never ceased being amazed. Not a minute went by where I didn’t turn to my friend Tim and say something along the lines of, “This is nuts” or “I really can’t believe this.”
But Friday night wasn’t special just because it was BU/BC. It wasn’t special just because my struggling Terriers finally got their crap together to knock off our hated rival. Nor was it special just because I was one of the lucky few to witness hockey under the lights at Fenway. Yes, all these factors contributed to my amazement Friday night, but there was one thing, beyond all others that impressed me. It wasn’t the 12 guys on the ice. It was the 38,000 people surrounding it.
Let’s face it—winters here in Boston are miserable. Everyone speedily walks down the street with a jacket zipped up over their face, in a hurry to escape the bitter cold. People fight over shoveled out parking spots and stress about the holidays. It gets dark early. Everyone just seems to be stuck in a perpetually pissed off state and the city just sits frozen in place, waiting for Marathon Monday and the revelry of another Red Sox season to break out of its depressing hibernation.
But on Friday night the cold lethargic grip that drains most of us of any joy during these winter months was non existent. Bitterness took the night off and everyone said, “Screw it. It may be balls cold, but lets get drunk, go outside and have a good time,” and that we did. We ignored the freezing temperatures, the $8 beers and the numerous crappy seats and flocked to Fenway to just have fun. Simply put, it was a party. A damn good one too. Drinking, laughing, smiling, singing, shouting, chanting, dancing and random high-fiving. It gave us all a little taste of that vibrant feeling that’s usually only around between April and September. It was a friendly reminder that we’re not always insufferable jackasses.
Just as soon as Friday night disappeared into Saturday morning, so did the good feelings. We woke up, cursed our hangovers, our light wallets, the weather or the dink who parked in the spot we spent 45 minutes shoveling out. We were rude to the clerk at the Dunkin’ Donuts that screwed up our coffee or we cut off some douche who tried to merge without looking. We went back to the things we normally do and the ways we often act. Which is fine, because for one winter night, 38,000 people came together, stopped being the pricks we usually are this time of year, and had fun—all because of a hockey game. Pretty impressive, huh?