Crazy Random Happenstance

Billy: So good... Hey, this is weird. I ordered one frozen yogurt and they gave me two. You don't happen to like frozen yogurt, do you?
Penny: I love it!
Billy: You're kidding? What a crazy random happenstance!
-Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Wizard of Oz

Remember that year (1994) the Detroit Red Wings lost to the San Jose Sharks in game 7 of the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs? Sure you do... 21 year old Rookie, Chris Osgood was in goal and he basically lost the game for us by giving away the puck to a Sharks player, leading them to score? That was the very first time I found myself actually caring about a hockey game. Don't get me wrong, I grew up around hockey. My dad loved it. He had season tickets and was always watching it but I never had a reason to pay attention before. There was something about that baby faced, blond goaltender (who was crying in the locker room after the loss) that made me take notice of the game and become obsessed with it.

Seriously obsessed. It was the first thing I was ever truly passionate about; The Detroit Red Wings and Chris Osgood. Hockey made me happy and it was always something I could look forward to. I loved the flow of the game and just watching the players skate. I adored going downtown to Joe Louis with my dad and getting teased by some of the guys sitting around us for being an Osgood fan. I loved the smell of the ice and the excitement I felt when they would announce the starting line up. I knew every player, every statistic and anxiously watched every game. I would wear some type of hockey or Red Wing shirt every day, as well as my #30 charm (with other miscellaneous hockey charms), and best of all, my goalie pin. PIN as in button. Every. Single. Day. I even wore it in my senior pictures. My entire room was filled with Chris Osgood and Red Wing pictures. I had scrap books with my favorite newspaper clippings (which are still in my attic to this day). It would devastate me if we lost a game, especially if Ozzie was in goal. I took it to heart, as if I was the one playing the game (ask me about the 1995 playoffs, when we were swept by the New Jersey Devils some time. I was a mess).

But, win or lose, I was always Chris Osgood's #1 fan. On March 6, 1996 he became one of nine goaltenders in the NHL to score a goal. This game wasn't televised (boy, was I mad about that) and I was listening to it on the radio with my parents. I was so excited when they announced that he had scored, that I fell off the bar stool I was sitting on.  I was able to meet him a couple times, once while at a fan fest (see photo), It was a real quick, "hello, thank you, goodbye" but it made my year. And another time, 2 years ago in downtown Plymouth. My friends and I saw him at a bar and they were begging me to go talk to him. I couldn't do it. I was perfectly fine with staring at him from afar (creepy, I know) and I didn't want to bother him. Carrie made me talk to him and I couldn't be more grateful to her, haha. He was super nice and agreed to take a picture with me. He asked me how I was and probably would have talked to me for a lot longer if I hadn't been such a nervous freak and ran off so quick. It was a fantastic experience and I was on cloud 9.

I was really, really sad when he was put on waivers in 2001 and the New York Islanders picked him up. Even more sad because Dominic Hasek was replacing him and I couldn't stand him. I admit, my interest in hockey lessened quite a bit after that. I would still keep tabs on him though and when my dad would take me to a Wings Vs. Islanders game (or later on, St. Louis Blues) I would watch him in goal for the other team and secretly hope for a tie. In August, 2005 we got him back. I was ECSTATIC. It was like he never left and I had so much fun watching him play again.

Now, he's retiring (he'll be a goalie consultant with the Wings) and I am a sad girl. He was responsible for bringing a game into my life that I barely paid attention to before. It brought me joy and tears and most of all, it got me through high school. Every time there was a bad day (come on, it was high school, there were LOTS of bad days), I could always turn a Red Wing game on and see Ozzie in net, making a save and it would instantly bring a smile to my face. He brought me bonding time with my dad that I wouldn't trade for anything in the world. I love, love, loved going to games with him, watching them on tv with my family and just talking about the different players and teams.

Was he the best goalie in the world? Maybe not to some people, but to me he always will be. I will miss seeing him in his "old school" red helmet on the ice. I'll miss hearing the audio dudes at Joe Louis play The Wizard Of Oz clip after he makes an amazing save and I will miss seeing him on the bench, chewing gum and taking notes in the games where he was playing back up. Most of all, I will miss seeing him wear that #30, Red Wing jersey.

For now, I have my pictures, jerseys (4 of them!) and memories to make me smile whenever I miss seeing him play.

Chris Osgood:
  • 17 NHL Seasons
  • 3 Stanley Cup wins (2 of which he was starting goaltender)
  • 401 Wins (10th in NHL regular season history)
  • 1 goal
  • 2 time winner of the William Jennings Trophy
  • 2 time All Star Player

Friday, July 15, 2011

"You're a Wizard, Harry"

On July 8th, 2000 a little book called Harry Potter and The Goblet Of Fire by J.K. Rowling was released. I had no idea what it was. I was working at Lenscrafters in Westland Mall at the time and saw that people were lined up outside of both bookstores, eagerly anticipating the moment when the gates were raised so they could buy their copies. I had never seen such a thing for a book release! The whole thing had me so curious. As it turned out, one of my coworkers (Amber!) was a HUGE Potter fan. She gave me a summary of the story so far and it had me so intrigued I went out and bought Harry Potter and The Sorcerer's Stone that very day. I was instantly hooked.

I've said it before, but this book series made me fall in love with reading again. The way the storytelling flowed, the creatiivity and imagination that went into every aspect of it was so captivating that it was like (pardon my pun) I was under a magic spell. When they announced that they would be releasing the first book as a movie I was ecstatic. Especially after I saw the cast for the first time. Every one of them completely fit the description in my mind. When Jeff and I went to see it on opening night (November 16, 2001), I remember having chills and tears in my eyes when the title flashed on the screen. Chris Columbus (who directed the movie, produced it and is also responsible for the casting of Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson) did such a wonderful job of literally bringing that book to life. The great hall, the common rooms, the quidditch pitch, everything was spot on. I couldn't wait for the next one. It was so much fun to see the story progress and see the actors grow along with the tale that was being told.

***This is your usual SPOILER ALERT for everyone who has yet to see the film***

Almost 10 years later we are finally able to see the conclusion. And what an amazingly wonderful, emotional conclusion it was. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 2 was incredibly true to the book. I am so so grateful that they decided to split the final book into two separate movies. They were able to show every part of it that makes it so great. Daniel Radcliffe was superb. Seriously, superb. His facial expressions conveyed more than the dialogue did in some parts and I found myself completely riveted by him. This film was HIS shining moment and he did not disappoint. Everyone was good in it, of course but he was literally in almost every single scene and he owned them all.

Some of my favorite parts: when Neville brings Harry, Ron and Hermione to the room of requirement and all the other students are so happy to see them, they erupt in applause. I also loved the scene where Snape has all the students gathered in the great hall and is lecturing them on the consequences of helping Harry, when he (Harry) reveals himself, in his Hogwarts cloak and starts yelling at him, (as the Order of The Phoenix walk up behind him). It was so powerful, I jumped in my seat. They did right by the fans and left a few of everyone's favorite quotes in the script. Namely, Mrs. Weasley's, "NOT MY DAUGHTER, YOU B*TCH!". The theater broke into applause when that scene came on. While different from how it happens in the book, Ron and Hermione's first kiss was really sweet and very much in line with their characters. Oh, how I love my Ron Weasley (my Won-Won). I only really cried during one scene, which was the part in the Forbidden Forest with the resurrection stone (also my most favorite part of the book). Seeing James and Lily, Sirius and Lupin was SO comforting even though I already knew it was going to happen. It was so well done, I just loved it. The visual effects were very cool, particularly a scene near the beginning where they show tons of dementors looming above the castle.

I can't wait to see it again. I'm sad that it's all over but I'm so happy that it was created.

 So, thank you, J.K. Rowling for introducing this amazing boy to the world. Thank you for having such a creative imagination and giving people a world to escape to (quite literally if you go to The Wizarding World Of Harry Potter). Thank you to all the people responsible for creating this visual world that had only existed in our minds. Call me a nerd/geek/dork if you want for loving this series but I am proud to call myself a Potter fanatic. I am proud of what the series (books and movies) have accomplished, as well as all of the actors. I love the imagination that it instills in people and that I can show my own son that it's ok to make believe that you are boy wizard and have fun "casting spells". For anyone who doesn't get that, you don't know the art of playing make believe and using your imagination and I feel sorry for you. The amount of joy these books and movies bring me is priceless and I love that.

Thank you, Harry Potter.