I started counting down to the last night’s Blackhawks game when I walked away from the Stanley Cup parade downtown. Of course, it was easier when the schedule was released; but, to say I’ve been looking forward to hockey season is an understatement.
Even if it is “just preseason.”
Preseason is the time to test things out — prospects like the Broadhurst boys, who I watched play against my brother in high school, Khabibulin back in net after allllll these years, just who will take Frolik’s spot aside Marcus Kruger, and what we’re missing by sending Teuvo Teravainen back to Finland (answer: a lot… Only 19 and beating Crosby at faceoffs — come back soon).
Unfortunately, it’s also when we play the Penguins without Marian the “Boss-a” Hossa and Jonathan “Captain Serious” Toews.
Regardless, this was a big game for me. I didn’t mention it in my biography, but I’m battling a tough illness and hockey’s one of my support groups.
During my time in Connecticut, I unknowingly contracted Lyme Disease. I became very sick but wasn’t diagnosed for over a year. The first line of treatment didn’t help. It’s dramatically changed my life. But, when I was far away I had my teams from home to keep me connected. Moving back to Illinois meant being closer to my own family, friends, and teams.
And, earlier this year, when I had to do nightly IV treatments at home, the Blackhawks’ streak was a perfect distraction. I even had a custom-knit PICC line cover designed after the Blackhawks socks.
I’ve been on a slow road to recovery, but have had a couple small setbacks lately and was looking forward to the distraction of hockey again.
Unfortunately, I had a terrible, painful episode sometime during the second period. Despite pain medicine, ice packs, and heating pads, I was down for the count. I struggled to watch the rest of the game from bed, fighting back tears.
I built the first televised game up to be something wonderful. Turns out it was a loss for both the Blackhawks and me.
Then I remembered there’s a lot of time to push forward. And, I thought about a note that came in a care package the organization sent me last season.
We’re supporting each other. And there’s plenty of fight left.