There are a few brief moments that ruin this video. That is one of them.
Ten years ago tonight, the Dallas Stars won game six of the Stanley Cup Finals, once again slamming the door on the hopes and dreams of an entire region. That moment is as close as this town has been to a championship in the last decade and counting.
Now everyone knows the particular situation surrounding the conclusion of game six, and so we won’t go there. The psychological impact of that moment ranks as one of the more important events of my life, and I know I’m not alone in saying that.
However, I feel there is something that should be disclosed about that night. For countless Sabres fans it has become the “Where Were You?” moment of their lifetime, right up there with Wide Right, 9/11, and the day Empire Sports Network shut down. So where was I during one of the most important and controversial moments in Sabres history?
I was in bed.
Now we don’t really discuss age here, but I’m sure by now most readers understand that the four of us are still quite young. What this post is telling you is that in 1999 I was young enough to not be able to stay awake long enough for triple overtime. Of course my present day self hates my younger incarnation for this very reason, but that’s another story altogether.
In any event, sometime between the second overtime intermission and the start of the third, I passed out. The next thing I remember was waking up in the morning and racing out to the living room to see what happened. I didn’t know what channel to put on, but I found my way to ESPN and just… watched.
It came up as a special highlight from SportsCenter, and as I saw that skate and that puck, I honestly couldn’t believe what I saw. I’ve never seen a little kid punched in the stomach, but I imagine that’s exactly how I looked as I slumped over on the couch. I didn’t want to believe it was over, but try as I may I was unable to convince myself I was dreaming.
I didn’t leave the house the rest of the day. In fact, I don’t think anyone in my family did. It was a honest to God day of mourning in my house, and all across Western New York. It was over, and despite all the petitions and talk radio it wasn’t coming back.
A decade later, I still can’t forgive myself for missing it. I never saw one of the biggest moments in Sabres history, and that will never change. That snapshot from the commercial is almost completely foreign to me, and in a way that makes me really, really sad. There is missing out on things because you weren’t alive, and then missing things because you couldn’t keep your eyes open. Somehow the latter seems more cruel.
Still, there are plenty of memories attached to that Sabres team I can fondly recall. Hasek standing on his head and beating the Leafs. The overtime winner from game one and that glimmer of hope it gave. Eating pizza on every gameday because my mom was too nervous to cook. No matter what I never saw or might have missed, that postseason run all those years ago will always mean something to me.
To be honest, I can’t believe it’s been ten years. It seems like an eternity when the numbers are there, but I can still remember that morning and the feeling that came with it. Someday I hope that feeling will mean less, but right now I think it’s important to remember.
So tell me, where were you ten years ago, and what do you remember from that game? I told you my story, now it’s your turn.