Bleed Blue

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
July/August 2002

By Katrina Sondermann, Illustrated by John Lugg

Tall buildings scrape the sky, a murky river gently runs, carrying with it logs and leaves. A graceful arch frames this quiet city. Cars drive down the streets; few people walk on such a hot and humid night, so muggy your knuckles begin to swell. Inside this city a substantial building stands, a building that is so cold you must wear a jacket inside. That’s not why people go there, however. It’s for something much better than that . . . hockey.

“Dad! Look at that guy! He has blue oozing out of his head!”

“Wow, that’s a great look!” my dad says in his best sarcastic tone as we walk around outside of the Saavis Center, home of the St. Louis Blues. We are the only ones to be seen wearing Avalanche merchandise; everyone else is wearing things that say something like, “St. Louis Blues! Do you bleed blue?” I was wearing my Avalanche jersey that said in big letters, “DRURY 28.” My dad was wearing a sweater with the Avalanche logo.

“People are nuts in this town! They all have blue oozing out from somewhere!” I said as I watched people move around and into the stadium. People sit and stare at me in my jersey, hat and pom-poms sticking out from my head. I don’t mind, I like the attention. My dad and I slowly make our way into the cold and crowded building. All over people stare at us, most likely thinking we are some idiots that moved from Denver to St. Louis and are still loyal to our old team! They are not even close!

My dad and I have never had a very good relationship; he is always at work and never home. When he does get home it is at one or two in the morning and I am fast asleep. Even if I was awake, he never says much, and when he does it’s, “Hi, how was your day? That’s good. You should be in bed.” That’s it. I barely knew him and he barely knew me, or so I thought.

It was Mother’s Day when my dad brought up the idea; he made it sound like it could never happen, but I knew it could! He said that we should drive all the way from Denver to St. Louis and get tickets to see the Avalanche play the Blues during the Stanley Cup playoffs. This took me by surprise; how did he know I loved hockey? Why was he suddenly after twelve years wanting to spend time with me? He said that getting the tickets was the only thing stopping us . . . oh, and my mom. I would have to convince Mom that it was OK if I missed four days of school, and that it was OK that Dad and I be gone for that long. I knew I could convince Mom, the only problem was the tickets.

We started with the woman who works for my dad (her family is in St. Louis). She called her parents and they said they would get back to us. We waited all day and had still gotten no answer. Both of us knew that if we got tickets we would have to leave day after tomorrow in order to make it to the first game. By night we had heard nothing and Dad had given up, but I had not, and would not. I went to school the next morning as if nothing had happened, and halfway through the day I got a message saying to call my dad. I did, and the first thing he said was “Wanna go to St. Louis?” Tears filled my eyes, I would finally get to know my dad.

The air was filled with all kinds of noises as we fought our way to our seats with bags of popcorn and Pepsis, and after we sat down we paid more attention to our surroundings. Next to me was a couple who looked shocked, and I smiled at them just to get a glare back. I get it, I thought, they just don’t understand that we are not crazy fans that are there to torment them!

One and a half minutes into the game and we have three goals! Bourque, Messier and Tanguay. Boom, boom, boom! Everyone is sitting there with this look on their faces that says to the goalie, “How could you do this?!” We are standing tall, the only ones in the stadium cheering and yelling! The people next to us stand up and leave! While we celebrate! Together.

Bleed Blue playing hockey

We are standing tall, the only ones in the stadium cheering and yelling!

The rest of the first period goes by and most of the second, when the lady who is sitting in front of us leaves and returns with a small bag that she hands to us. I open it to find a puck that says St. Louis Blues. “I wanted you to have something to remember this trip by,” she says. Later at the middle of the third period the score is 3-3, and we have come to know everyone around us.

The man behind us comes up the stairs with his sixth or seventh beer; he sits down and soon cracks up at his friend’s joke. I feel a cool liquid dripping down my back, everyone gasps, and he says over and over again that it was not on purpose. The liquid is beer. My dad immediately perks up, “You bum! What are you doing pouring beer on my daughter? You don’t ever do that again! I’m very tempted to call security on you!”

He actually stood up for me.

At the end of the game it’s still 3-3. The tense overtime begins. Everyone’s hearts are racing, pounding, beating, and throbbing inside their chests. This is it. One goal and the game’s over. Seconds go by, then minutes; each team has equally good chances but no pucks go in. A tense and long five minutes go past when the red light finally flashes. We won! Everyone’s energy sinks, except ours! We won! Yelle scored the winning goal! We won! We walk out into the silence, silence that tells us that we have won! Outside the rain beats down on our backs and washes away everything, except our victory, our love for our team and our new relationship. I slip my hand into my dad’s. “I love you,” we both murmur.

Bleed Blue Katrina Sondermann

Katrina Sondermann, 12
Denver, Colorado

Bleed Blue John Lugg

John Lugg, 10
Lock Haven, Pennsylvania

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