By Ryan

I just donated $39 to charity for this.

I’m not sure how I feel about it at the moment. My initial thought was that I could have done much better things with that money. Much, much better things, in fact. I could have invested in the stock market, bought some reading material, spruced up my wardrobe. Heck, I could have bought some fabric and stitched the thing myself.

But no, I dropped forty bucks (plus $25 shipping, mind you) on a lot of cloth that may or may not have some history attached to it. (Certificate of Authenticity will say it’s real, but not that it wasn’t in a closet for 40 years instead of in some rink’s rafters)

So here’s the kicker: where the heck am I going to put it? My room is the size of a women’s shoebox, size 9 wide. This does not leave much room forthe things necessary for sleep, let alone giant hockey memorabilia. Then there’s the question of aesthetics: will it clash with the decor? What happens when I have to spring clean? Can you dry clean something 60″X34″? Do I have to Scotch Guard this bad boy?

This purchase has boiled down to either the greatest one of my life, or something that will haunt me forever. Why would anyone drop a week’s paycheck on this monstrosity, let alone a Sabres fan on the brink of a sweep? What happens if it’s over tomorrow, and I’m stuck with a giant reminder of this team’s failure hanging in my room until October?

What will happen is something I certainly don’t know, but I’d like to have some faith in the rash purchases I make. No matter what happens tomorrow, I know that I will still love the game of hockey. I know that whatever this team ends up doing this year, I’m not giving up on the game, the team, or this city.

Call it gullible, call it naive, call it pathetic, but it’s my life. It’s going to be a part of me no matter how many times it rips my heart out and makes another year into mere memories. Those memories, no matter how bittersweet, never leave. It’s a world of hockey cards, game programs, and ticket stubs, with no free agency in sight. And yes, sometimes giant, over sized banners emblazoned with an NHL logo.

You know what? I think I’ll learn to like living with this thing. I’ve already learned to live with the memories attached to it.