One of the most defining moments of my life was a watching Stephane Matteau score the game (and series) winning goal in double overtime against the New Jersey Devils. This goal sent the New York Rangers to the finals where they broke their 54 year curse and won the 1994 Stanley Cup. This goal solidified my fascination with and love for the Rangers. Despite the busyness and chaos of life over the past 18 years, even when I didn’t have time to watch games, the Rangers were still the only team in which I’ve taken more than a passing interest.
That May night in 1994, I had just celebrated my 13th birthday. Like most kids at that stage of life, I was angsty and moody and trying to navigate the super fun and exciting waters of adolescence! That year was both one of the best and the worst years of my life, full of transitions and the requisite self-discovery that comes from emotional upheaval. In a typical, self-absorbed 13-year old way, I think I saw the Rangers’ victory as a symbol of hope for my personal future.
Readers please note: In my 13-year old mind, I never for once dreamed that 18 years later, I’d pick up my life and move to Washington DC and be at a similar turning point as I navigate the super fun and exciting waters of adulthood!
(I also never dreamed that Martin Brodeur would still play goalie for the New Jersey Devils. Respect.)
And yet, here I am.
And here are my Rangers, playing in my new city. And I’m conflicted, because even though I know that I will never stop being a Rangers fan, I also want my new city to flourish. I want it to stand up to all the naysayers (New York, I’m looking at you) and succeed.
But not against the Rangers. Not this week.
It’s been strange to watch the games here in DC. I feel homesick in a way that I haven’t felt yet–happy with my life here, but sad to be away from the community of Rangers fans. And yet, it’s been amazing to bond with my roommate (a Bruins fan) and watch hockey together. It’s been amazing to join the chorus of Rangers fans worldwide through Twitter and Facebook, while still enjoying my new home.
And I must confess, there is a part of me that notes the perfect symmetry of that experience 18 years ago and my current reality. I am about to turn 31 and coming off a year of some major transitions and the self-discovery that comes from emotional upheaval. It hasn’t escaped my notice that once again, I’m looking toward a Rangers victory as a symbol of hope for my new life here in DC.
So, DC please don’t hold it against me that I’m hoping for a Rangers win tonight! If the Caps were playing any other team (especially the Islanders, Devils or Flyers) I’d be thrilled to root for my new city.
I’m even willing to one day call myself a Washingtonian.
But not tonight. Tonight I’m still a New Yorker. Tonight my jam is “Let’s Go Rangers.” Because 1994 called and it wants its Stanley Cup back.
Written by Juliet Vedral. Check out her media empire at The Wheelhouse Review.