December 21, 2006

My take on the Pens' situation...

I feel a strong need to weigh in on what is going on with the Penguins right now. After the Isle of Capri lost out on the exclusive gambling license in Pittsburgh, the Penguins saw their Plan A for a new arena shot to you know where. As near as I can tell from what I've read online nobody seems happy about the plan that was chosen. All three Pittsburgh sports teams seem pretty upset about it, most notably the Pens of course. Local politicians seem confident that a new arena deal is still going to get done, and possibly soon, but Mario has already made his stance known; the team is no longer for sale and he is now actively entertaining relocation possibilities. How much of this is legit and how much is just him playing hardball remains to be seen, but I don't think anyone could blame him for taking the team somewhere else at this point.

Save the Pens! Do it for Marc-Andre!!

So here's my take. I am someone who has loved the Pens ever since my Dad started taking me to hockey games (I'll never be able to thank him enough for that). I also grew up in California and live in Texas so it gets hard to claim having super strong feelings about the Pens relocating. Going into the week my general feeling was that I didn't care where the franchise ended up as long as they had an owner willing to put up the moolah to keep the team we have now together (mainly Sid, Geno, and Fleury). Honestly, unless the team moves to Oakland or Houston the odds of me ever taking in a Pens home game are pretty slim, so what d
ifference does it make to me right?

Well then I got to think about it more and my mind and heart of flipped on the situation. I grew up obsessing over the Pittsburgh Penguins, not the Portland Penguins or the Kansas City Whatevers. It really does matter to me where the team ends up. The P
enguins were the first sports team I truly followed, and I want to continue following them, as the Penguins. I grew up with my walls covered with guys adorned in this:And I want to be able to keep that alive. There's a reason why I wore my Sidney Crosby shirt to the birth of my son. I selfishly wanted one of the first things he saw on this earth to be that beautiful skating penguin that meant so much to me as a kid. And for the record, Landon always lets out a gleeful yelp when I wear that shirt now (mission accomplished). The bottom line is that the team won't be the same if they move. And for that, and for all of the Pens fans out there (not just the ones who live in Pittsburgh) I want the Pens to stay. It's bad enough thinking that they won't be playing in the Igloo much longer (again, I don't get to attend games there so it doesn't really impact me if the place is run down), but I can't deal with them not being the Pens any more.

I guess what I'm getting at here is that even though I never have been to Pittsburgh and probably never will, I really need the Penguins to be there. There may come that day when I do get to finally take in a home game (I came real close during my trip to Toronto) and if it does, I want that game to be in Pittsburgh. This team means too much to too many people (read the comments on The Pensblog if you don't believe me) for it to move. And just for the record, I don't think it will. I think Mario has one more miracle up his sleeve. Here's hoping I'm right.

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