Two things have happened in the past week that some people in St. Louis have been waiting to see for a long, long time.
On Saturday, I got married. On Wednesday, the Blues won the Stanley Cup. Somehow, hell has not frozen over, though it is cold and rainy in Boston today. The Blues have me in years; they waited 51 seasons before hoisting the Cup. I’m only 43, but I’m not so sure those two much-anticipated events are coincidental. See, I’m from St. Louis, and I’m actually moving back there with my wife – boy, that word is new and shiny and wonderful to use – and our beautiful 9-month-old BabyGirl later this summer, after 10 years in Charlotte.
Maybe I’m the Blues’ good-luck charm. Hell, I’ve played the role of jinx to perfection.
It’s not that the Blues never wanted to bring the Stanley Cup home to St. Louis, and it’s not like I never wanted to get married. But in both cases, the time and people involved had to be right. As I sit here at my laptop on Thursday morning, the timing and people involved are, well, perfect. Tate is my own personal Jordan Binnington.
Not to bore you with details about our wedding when you want to hear about hockey, but I did want to share one little story: When Tate and I met with our wedding DJ a month or so ago, he asked if we had any must-play songs. We rattled off a couple and then I told him, “You have to play ‘Gloria.'”
As diplomatically as he could, he said, “From the Lumineers?”
I laughed, then explained the situation. We needed the Laura Branigan song, the anthem that had almost unbelievably become the soundtrack for the local hockey club’s stunning run through the most grueling playoff in American sports.
The Blues were near the end of their second-round series against the Stars, and if they at least made the Western Conference Finals, we were going to make sure we heard “Gloria.” By the time a follow-up email was sent a week later, the Blues were playing the Sharks and “Gloria” was locked in.
We tried to keep that song as a reception surprise for my relatives who made the trip from St. Louis to Charlotte – Team Fagan always travels strong – heading into wedding day, but rest assured it was suggested to me multiple times. During the dinner portion of the reception, Charlie, the DJ, went around table to table and asked for requests.
“Our whole table, all at once, yelled #playgloria!! And he looked confused and said ‘I’ve already had about 20 requests for that song!'” That was part of a Facebook post from my lifelong friend Trey Herweck, a pastor who officiated the wedding.
So “Gloria” was played not once, but twice, due to the overwhelming demand. By the second playing, with everyone from St. Louis on the dance floor and everyone from Charlotte or elsewhere wondering why this random ’80s song was playing again – “I mean, it’s good but it’s not that great” a friend told me – I had to do a little explaining to those who seemed most bewildered.
It was pretty great.
MORE: Six facts that show how long Blues have waited for Stanley Cup title
And, OK, I have one more story, if you’ll indulge me. I have many, many friends who are diehard Blues fans, and all of them wanted to do something special on the night of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Some watched at the Enterprise Center, the Blues’ home ice, where every ticket was sold to watch the game on the big screen. And the Cardinals, who were on the road in Miami, opened up Busch Stadium for fans who couldn’t get into the Enterprise Center. And despite the rain, thousand and thousands and thousands of fans showed up there, too.
Phish was playing in St. Louis on Wednesday night, the second show in as many nights at Chaifetz Arena to kick off their summer tour. What to do if you’re a diehard fan of both the band and the hockey team? You watch both.
My buddy Tom Breckenridge, whom I’ve known literally since he was born (two years after me), brought a TV and an HD antenna to set up in the parking lot to watch the game. When it started raining, one of the crew backed up a van and they all piled in to watch from that relative dryness.
And then they started getting texts from friends inside the venue – the game was on all the TVs, despite the fact that they’d been told, explicitly, earlier in the week that wouldn’t happen. But Phish wanted the game on, so the game was on.
Everyone rushed into the arena after the first period. They watched and they listened and they were nervous and they were relaxed. I’ve been to three Phish shows – I’ll see my fourth at the end of next week – and I can promise you, the juxtaposition between the nerves of watching playoff hockey and the joy of listening to a Phish jam is stark.
The game ended during the concert’s set break, and Phish came back out with the one song every single person in that venue wanted to hear: “Gloria.”
Again, the timing – and people involved – were perfect.
“Aside from maybe the Blues’ locker room,” Tom told me, “that might have been the happiest place on earth last night.”
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