Yet there is a chill in the air. It's hockey time, and all is right in the world again.
I have tickets to take the wife and kid to Stars opening night at "The Hangar" (a.k.a. American Airlines Center) Saturday night. I only hope the pregame hype video is as good as last year's, which featured a montage of pre-lockout highlights to the music from Batman Begins. It was a beautiful thing, and even brought me to tears.
Once again, I will don my green Mike Modano jersey, given to me several years ago by a stranger at a game who thought I was a bigger fan than he, and thus more deserving of it. Some day I'll drop the money to get an authentic sweater since they don't make the replicas in triple-XL and have my name and number 13 put on it. This is one reason I'm somewhat glad Bill Guerin is gone - he didn't get my permission to use my number when he came to Dallas.
There are some who would take issue with the act of having one's name put on the jersey of their team, and I do say that with emphasis on "their." After all, I buy the tickets, I watch the games, I buy the stuff Tom Hicks is just the guy who takes care of the day-in, day-out dealings of "ownership." Fact is, I can't be bought out, and I can't be traded. So there. I am a hockey fan; I AM a Dallas Stars fan, and I've been there through thick and thin. In the end, I don't give a rat's patoot about the unions, salary caps, or smaller goalie pads. Just play the damn game already.
I'm quite certain I'm not the only one here in Big D who feels this way. In fact, I know I'm not. Saturday night I expect there to be 18,000 screaming maniacs at the AAC who have similar feelings about hockey, and about the Dallas Stars. Some of them may have actually paid for their tickets.
I look forward to raising my right arm and screaming "Stars" twice during the National Anthem, racing to the bathroom during the two-minute TV timeouts, even giving a shout-out to former Star Jamie Langenbrunner...despite the fact that he plays for the other team. I look forward to being hoarse midway through the first period, having a hard time sitting in the not-quite wide enough seats, and introducing my step-daughter to the NHL. My wife will sit and enjoy for my benefit, but that's what spouses are supposed to do make the occasional sacrifice to humor the other half. I look forward to the bone-crushing hits, spectacular Marty Turco saves, and seeing Mikey Mo pick 'em up and put 'em down while taking the puck to the house.
Summers in Texas can be long, and this has been a particularly hot one. But Fall has come, that so-called "Major League" baseball team we have here is done, and I can feel a chill in the air.
It must be hockey time again.