Friday, April 26, 2013

We love you Kipper

Jimmy and I had the privilege to attend the last Flames home game of the season!

We knew that it very likely was Kipper's last game. And although it is still weird to not see Iggy out there and have my favorite Iggy dance replaced by some cartoon cowboy . . . the Flames played great.

But that is not the point of this post.

Instead I wanted to talk about the send off to Kipper. Throughout the game, there were a ton of signs being held up for Kipper. Everything from we love you Kipper to saying thanks. Unlike the big Flames playoff run - I did not see any "Tops off for Kippersoff" posters. At least not another one besides mine! (Just kidding mom and dad - I would never do something so foolish . . . )

The last two and a half minutes, the crowd was on their feet chanting 'Kipper . . . Kipper . . . Kipper...'! It was so loud that I could barely hear Jimmy even when he was yelling. And as I stood there taking it all in and clapping along with the crowd, I was wondering what the other team was feeling. Did the Ducks realize what a privileged moment they were standing on the sidelines for. Did the players dream that one day, when there is talk of them retiring, that they too would receive such a warm appreciation from the crowd. I wondered what Kipper was feeling. Was he fighting to keep his emotions in check. Was he standing there proud and tall to be a part of such an amazing hockey city. Did he anticipate that the city would feel the loss that sincerely. And what about his teammates? Were the other flames so very proud of him? Were they wondering how they were going to adjust next year to fill the legacy he is leaving behind?

Finally the game was over - the players flooded the ice to congratulate Kipper and to solute the crowd. Kipper was pushed out to the middle alone for a few seconds before the rest of the Flames joined him. If you thought the crowd couldn't get any louder - you were wrong. Perhaps it is because all those who silently cheered before (including myself) joined their voices with the crowd. You could feel the building tremor. It was amazing.

And as we drove home I pondered it. I most likely may never have 20,000 people chanting Jules. And I most likely will not have any signs in the crowd telling me they love me or are thankful for me. And the shy side of me is completely relieved that I won't have 40,000 eyes looking at me. In fact, the majority of the players on the ice that night will probably not elicit that reaction from a crowd when they decide to hang up the skates. But wow - what a moment to be a part of. I hope everyone took a second to appreciate that instant in time.

There is too much bullying. Too much hatred. Too much killing and violence just because in this world. Too much sadness and crushed spirits.

When you experience a slice of time - you would be a fool to not revel in that pure, encouraging, rich moment.

And with that - we do love you Kipper.

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