My name is JD Sarginson, and I am thrilled to be joining the Blades of Teal team just in time for the start of the 2011-2012 season! As a lifelong Sharks fan, I’ve been going through an all too familiar offseason routine; one that has me anxious to see the light of a new season at the end of the long summer tunnel.
Every year the Sharks have been eliminated from the playoffs, the devastating impact on my hockey fandom is severe. After months of loading up Gamecenter at 4pm to watch the likes of Florida and Carolina play largely meaningless contests, I find myself almost unable to engage in the playoffs once the Sharks have exited.
At times during these dark periods, I wonder if I’ll find my way back again. I begin to doubt that I will be able to drum up the same excitement, interest, and hope by the time the new season rolls around.
But then, shortly after a new non-Sharks champion is crowned, the entry draft comes around. And I find myself calling in sick, glued to the TV with laptop open and twitter feed streaming.
Then July 1st approaches, and not even my annual disappointment at Doug Wilson’s stubborn refusal to sign a meaningful free agent can quell what is starting to happen in my gut.
Like a drunk foolishly leaving a flask hidden in the house, I keep message boards and rumor websites bookmarked. Even in the doldrums of summer, they beckon me to return.
Because a trade is rumored.
There’s a signing to debate.
There are new potential line combinations to consider.
And now suddenly, here we are. Today is September 17th. Yesterday, the players officially reported to camp for medical checks and meetings. Today, there will be hockey.
For those who have never been, training camp is a fantastic fan experience. The facility is intimate and the action is close. The ice holds as many stories as there are players. There are tryout players whose very careers hang in the balance, young hopefuls desperate to catch the eye of the coaching staff and earn a longer look, veterans shaking the rust off and setting their eyes ahead toward a new season and a chance at redemption. There are offseason injuries being tested, and new teammates beginning the work of feeling each other out.
Long before the players took the ice today, there were fans sitting in the stands, waiting for their first glimpse of this year’s Sharks. A team that once again has a real shot at contending for a long awaited drink from Lord Stanley’s Cup.
And once again, I was one of those fans. Because hockey is back today.
And I just can’t help myself.
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