Recently my 4-year-old and I got the sports bug watching the New Jersey Devils make a deep run at the Stanley Cup.
Not only were the games fun to watch with him, but a few other things happened along the way as well.
He is now officially a full fledged fan of my favorite team.
The baby says “Go Dehvuls” upon request or when he sees any hockey on TV, but often just says it on his own for no reason.
My wife supported the team (once the Bruins were out), as did many students in her classroom and even some of their parents.
What happened here is that the infection of this team on these boys inspired me and even others around them. Others born and raised in Massachusetts who don’t have my Jersey blood were rooting for them.
But the Devils didn’t win.
They came within 2 wins of the Stanley Cup and got crushed 6-1 in their final game. And guess what? The boys didn’t care one bit.
The little guy learned a few new words and got to hang with his idol and older brother, so he was happy with the whole experience.
My 4-year-old, I thought, might be a different story. He knows most of the players’ names and even has favorites. He is emotionally invested in this team just as I am. But unlike the pity party I tend to throw for a few days after such a loss, he still wore his shirt the day after and still wanted me to wear mine when I got home from work.
He’s not mad at the team. He simply wants the ride to continue. For him right now, he doesn’t have the love/hate relationship with sports that many of us do, but rather just love. He isn’t mad at the refs or upset with an all-star player who underperformed. He doesn’t know about retirement questions for some players and free agency concerns for others. He doesn’t boo the Commissioner, and if I could be totally honest, the Stanley Cup itself isn’t even really on his radar.
So what is he? He’s in the club.
A club his daddy used to paint his face for in the late 90s.
A club championed by his late, great “Uncle” Basil. A family first, passionate club of crazy cousins and friends who have loved this team for as long as I can remember.
And now my sons are part of it.
This season turned out to be victorious after all.
‘Brad the Dad’ can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Facebook or Twitter at keyword: readbradthedad
This article originally appeared on Chelmsford Patch on 6/16/12.