It was around 8:30 am last Monday that I wasn't feeling All Islanders. (I'm at about 80-90% right now and certain I'll get back to 100%, but just need a little time). I drove home and immediately went into Between-Jobs Cliche mode.
I told my wife, whom I think still doesn't believe me.
I went to the Rockville Centre library and drew up my plans for the next 20 years on a legal pad, all the while staying far away from that depressing area where they have the books about careers, how to build a resume and all that New Age crap.
I had my car inspected at the shop, running into a neighbor there who is also between jobs in the real world of banking.
I met my boy Tim Beach at Chili's at 2, then broke the news to Garth at the Coliseum at 3:30 and my staff an hour later. I then called as many of my close colleagues at the NYI as possible. Later that night, when it dawned on me Greg Logan might have something in Newsday, I called my mom and brother. Sources tell me my mom called my brother the next day for some sort of assurance I hadn't lost my mind. Nick tried his best to soothe her, I'm sure.
Tuesday was the Best. Day. Ever. A buddy of mine put it perfectly: "Man, you lived the dream - you got to watch your own funeral and hear people say great stuff about you."
That said, by the time I got home, I really just wanted to relax with my family and not think about it anymore. It had been an emotional 36 hours.
8:00 pm came and it was time for one of life's pleasures - sitting 5-on-a-bed with my wife and Luke, Cole and Aidan watching American Idol. Luke gives everyone a 10 out of 10 even if they stink. He's such a sweetheart, it never gets old. Syesha is singing "Proud Mary" - and looking spectacular, I might add - and suddenly...
The phone at the house rings. It has to be a frickin' telemarketer. Catherine, knowing I might lose it, takes the call.
"Chris, it's ___ (I'm protecting the name). He says he's an Islander fan, you've met him before and he just wants to wish you well."
I was in complete shock.
"Hey there. I uh...uh...how did you get my home number"?
I gathered myself and realized this is just a really nice person, and obviously an incredible Islanders fan, and I better stop acting like a doof.
He and I talked for a bit. I told him what I've told everyone: I really can't wait to sit in the Coli stands for a night and just watch a game with the Blackberry off.
A cynic could say that maybe the call is proof that I might have over-stayed my welcome at the NYI. I prefer to take it as just a real neat gesture.
It's just the darndest thing about ESPN: every time they have post-game press conference coverage, it's for one of the leagues they're partners with! Tonight, while superstar Sidney Crosby was at the podium after the Pens' Game 2 win in the Eastern Conference Final, I clicked over to ESPNews, which had a very detailed analysis of the NCAA women's college softball tournament. I'm going to save myself and y'all the time and go out on a limb and just declare it fact that those softball games are on ESPN.
Why I'm Still Rooting, Part 1 - Bruno Gervais
I was there the day Bruno was drafted and the day Milbury went out of his way to present him with his first pro contract because it was the kid's birthday. It says everything that I really don't need to tell any Islanders fan that Bruno's one of the best people around.
A few weeks before the Islanders surprised me by acknowledging my 20th anniversary in a pre-game ceremony, my wife - saying it was for Aidan's school project - asked me for my 3 favorite current Islanders. I said Ricky, Chris Campoli and Bruno. After all, Bruno has read at my kids' school (and about 100 other schools on Long Island). When Cole had his heart thing last April, Bruno called him more than a few times during the playoff hunt.
When Bruno skated over to the Zamboni corner with the Rolex, it all started to make sense. It was perfect.