For years after the Rangers won the Stanley Cup, I used to watch Oh Baby! or the Official 1994 Championship tape every year on the anniversary. It felt fun to re-live the memory, when it was nice and fresh. It felt important.
As the years went on, this anniversary ritual stopped. I honestly can't remember the last time I watched any of those tapes.
There just came a time when it felt different. And I honestly don't know if it was somewhere during the seven playoff-less years, the second lockout, or when, exactly. But something changed.
Perhaps it was just inevitable that there'd be a time when 1994 stopped being something that just happened and something you wanted to glorify, and more became a reminder of what once was and what, now, seemed almost impossible to be again.
For if the Rangers had a moment since 1994 (or past 1997) of truly making we, as fans, feel that it could, indeed, happen again for them - for us-, perhaps maybe I wouldn't feel so separate from that night, now 15 years ago.
But, yet, I do. Especially after watching a year of hockey where I embraced so few of our players and enjoyed so few of the moments I onced loved and longed to remember.
I hope, as do we all, that this team, our team, can turn it around someday, and hopefully someday soon. I hope, as we all do, that 1994 was not the only glory we'll see.
But you know what. I've always said, if it was, at least I got to see it, even if I was only a new fan, unsure of much, except the fact that I was drawn to this team. The devotion, the loyalty, and the full range of emotions that go along with bring a fan of a team, that came later. When things got worse, when you built favorites among the many, when you were still waiting for things to get better.
But 15 years. . .
I really can't believe it's been 15 years.
I Tivoed the replays on MSG Network tonight just in case. Maybe before I go to bed, I'll just fast-forward to those last moments. To the words now ingrained in all our memories. To the celebration images we've all seen so many times.
And thank silently, or perhaps aloud, each of the players that made that championship possible.
Thank them for standing together and giving us that one, true, glorious moment we still, consciously or unconsicously, find ourselves clinging to tonight.