Let me start this by saying that I have wanted to sit with the Fanatics for quite some time now. I remember being at a game last spring and seeing that the Stars were holding auditions for something called the Havoc Fanatics. I was unaware of what all the group entailed, but from Jeff K’s description, it sounded like me. I attend every Stars game I am able to, and I watch or listen to all of the others while I’m at home or school. We request all the tickets in our package to be in the last row because I like to stand… and there’s my foot tall hat to consider. Most people usually don’t like sitting behind that. Anyway, I really wanted to go to the tryouts and try to be a Fanatic, but home is 200 miles north of Dallas and school is 250 miles south of Dallas so it’s hard for me to make it to games, much less tryouts on a Wednesday night.
So I didn’t try out for the Fanatics. I attended the last game of the season that year and spent much of the game looking at the Fanatics with my binoculars and wishing I could be up there. This past season, I started to get over not being a Fanatic by screaming and standing and generally doing whatever I felt like in my section. Needless to say, sometimes the people sitting next to me weren’t all that happy.
However, my time of not being a Fanatic was about to change. I had tickets to Game 4 of the Detroit series and I KNEW the Stars were going to win (I’ve never seen Detroit win against the Stars when I’ve been there). After standing down with our signs at the pregame skate, Sarah and I headed up to the Fanatics section because I wanted to get some pictures of all of their signs and artwork they had up for the playoffs.
We must have walked up at the right time because as soon as we got there one of the Fanatics was herding a Detroit fan out of the section. The Fanatic walked up to us (I don’t even think I ever got her name) and asked if Sarah and I would be willing to trade our tickets with Detroit fan and his friend because they couldn’t sit up in the section. We immediately said yes and showed the two guys to our seats. I did feel a little bad about leaving my parents and sticking a Detroit fan in my place, but I really wanted to sit with the Fanatics.
Sarah and I found seats in the middle of the section and got settled with our signs and multitude of other stuff. It was already time for the game to start and we found ourselves engulfed in the American flag. As soon as I realized this, I started to get giddy. I would get to help the American flag “wave” at the end of the anthem!
The game passed by in a blur. I’ve never felt so at home at a Stars game before. I got to stand up the whole game and yell and cheer as loud as I wanted without people looking at me like I belonged in a mental institution. One of the Fanatics wearing a Richards jersey recognized us from our blog and even took a picture of us in the section before the 2nd period started.
That brings me to another thing I got to do that I can cross off my life’s to-do list. I got to wave the Finnish flag before the 2nd period! As corny as it may sound, I love our Finns and I have wanted to wave the Finnish flag ever since I noticed the Fanatics waving flags for all the countries the Stars are from. I wanted to wave the Finnish flag because those guys are the nicest and sweetest hockey players you will ever meet. Plus they really like our signs for them. Lehtinen saw our signs at a practice and actually SMILED for a picture. I can’t tell you how many pictures I have of him where he looks like he’s in some kind of pain. Jussi used to shoot pucks at mine and Sarah’s faces when we held up our “We ❤ our Finns” sign. After Jussi left, Hagman took over that duty and regularly smiles at me and shoots pucks right at the sign. I need to say a GIANT thank you to the lady who let me borrow her Finnish flag 🙂
By the end of the game I was exhausted and Sarah was sweating like she had played in the game. I think the Fanatics section is the only warm section in the arena. With all the screaming and jumping around, I can see how it gets toasty up there. Leaving the arena after a victory was a great feeling. Sarah and I stood near the escalator holding our “Believe” sign high above our heads and started several Stars chants with the people leaving.
I don’t know if this was my favorite Stars game ever (Game 6 against the Guppies is pretty high up there too), but I definitely had the most fun. I finally felt like I got to be myself up there, and all the other Fanatics were so welcoming to us “babies” in the section. I would love to come cheer with you guys again next season.
Sarah and I waving the Finnish flag before the second period started