Tonight, the city of St. Louis will host a Stanley Cup Final game for the first time in 50 years. It feels like Christmas mixed with 4th of July and I cannot wait for everyone to see the rabid hockey community that St. Louis has been building for a while now. Game 3 is only happening because the Blues got over the hump and advanced past the San Jose Sharks in the Western Conference Finals a little over a week ago to earn a place on hockey’s biggest stage. I was lucky enough to be there at one of the coolest sports games I’ve ever seen and wanted to share the story. Pretty long but so is 49 years so ¯\_(?)_/¯
I was sitting at my desk in Barstool HQ3 at 2pm on May 21st. Dave, Frankie, and the Pebble Beach crew had just left for the airport and a NERF war was breaking out all around me. From the moment I woke up, I couldn’t do anything but think about the fact that the St. Louis Blues were up 3-2 on the Sharks with a chance to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals at home. After being in St. Louis two days before for Games 4 and 5, a lot of people kept texting me asking if I was going to the game that night. Every time I typed the words that I was in New York it made me increasingly rattled to miss a potential historic moment for the city.
I got a DM from Adam Caruso (@Cabrewso) saying that he could get me media passes for Game 6 tonight if I was going. I was like, “Well I’m sitting in the middle of Manhattan right now with no plane ticket or anything” so while there was an opening, I didn’t know if I could even take him up on that offer. I normally go to the games with my Dad, but he told me that my Mom was going and that I had to find my own way. No doubt I was salty to get health bombed by my own Dad but I guess when something hasn’t happened in 49 years, seniority counts more than normal.
That’s when I got a text from the Big Rig. After telling me after they won Game 5 that he’d book a ticket to bring Boris to STL for the potential clinching game, I was still hesitant as the airlines are so strict on any pets flying that aren’t cats or dogs. Pat hit me up again that afternoon before Game 6 and said “Are you coming tonight dude?” I told him “Bro I wish but I don’t have a flight and my only potential tickets come from an anonymous Twitter DM”
He said “Where do you want to fly out of?” I was like wherever man I don’t care if its a broom stick, I’m just trying to get there. He sent back an screenshot of an itinerary for a United flight out of Newark that landed at 10:59. I was like Rig that is not going to work bro. As good as he is at scoring heroic 2OT goals and taking the Blues to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in half a century, he might not be the best travel agent. I said dude I think I’m gonna take this one, a 4:29pm flight that got in at 6:19pm. It was about 2:45 at this point. He said to just buy it on his card and sent me the numbers and code.
WHAT A LEGEND!!!! This dude is sitting in the locker room getting ready to go to war to try and bring his hometown something no one could in his lifetime, and is casually making people’s year by sending them to a game that I would have absolutely no means of going to ANY other way. I hope if any of us were ever making a couple sheets a year we would treat people the same way but I don’t know if we all would. I booked the flight and got back to my apartment as FAST AS POSSIBLE and ordered an uber to the airport. It was going to be tight but if I only took a carry-on I would probably make it. I also knew that if the Big Rig bought be a flight and I missed it that I would probably face the same fate as Ilya Lyubushkin…
I got to the gate barely in time and boarded the flight. I was seeing reports of tornado warnings and ENORMOUS weather systems headed towards STL but I didn’t have any other option at this point. I sat straight up for the entire flight thinking about the game and potential night ahead. If they won I would be staying out all night partying with Pat and the Blues on the night they clinched a trip to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in my lifetime, and if they lost? I would be waking up at 4am to fly back to New York and all of the money on flights/ubers/food would have been a waste. Not only that, the Blues would have been headed back to San Jose for a Game 7 on the road. All of my dreams of a Bruins/Blues Stanley Cup Final and a content showdown with a guy I’ve looked up to for a decade, Dave Portnoy, would be in serious jeopardy.
The plane touched down in STL and my phone immediately filled with text messages spreading the message that there were tornadoes a little West of the airport that were supposedly heading north or towards downtown. When we got off of the plane, the airport was EMPTY. We were the last flight that was allowed to land before they shut it down for the rest of the storm.
I ran up to the Uber pickup spot and immediately saw these crazy green clouds outside. I made this video and was VERY ready for the guy to get there and get my ass to the rink where my un-scientific calculations decided I’d be safe from a tornado. The whole thing felt very biblical and it made me think that there was NO WAY the Blues were going to lose.
“Joe” picked me up and immediately let it be known that he was NOT A FAN of tornadoes and that he’d be “hauling ass” to get out of here. We jetted towards Enterprise Center and away from the storm as fast as possible. It was a 50 year storm. When I got there, it was time to see if my DM friend that I had only talked to on a random twitter account with a black profile picture was real. I SPRINTED inside just as the rain was starting to pour down and the green sky was swirling around. The security people were so sketched out by the weather that they didn’t even ask me for a ticket. I said “where is the media entrance?” while holding all of my bags of clothes and laptop. They took me and sure enough, there was a pass with my name on it. Stoolies are truly like a magic spy network when it comes to hooking stuff up. I am insanely grateful. How could I be sitting in New York at 2pm, get a random DM, and somehow be walking around the Western Conference Finals 4 hours later? Its absurd. Anyways, I ran into the media bathroom to change into my playoffs outfit. Apex windbreaker, Bud Light swimming trunks, the same ripped open socks that have not been washed for 2 months now, and my flag shoes that I have worn to every single game.
As I was taking my underwear off, the swim trunks are only lucky if you go freeballing, I heard the most beautiful sound in the world… ERRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! THEY SCORED!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I could not believe it. I wasn’t even sure if the game had started as the National Anthem has ended seemingly seconds ago. Holy shit! 1-0 right away… is this actually going to happen?
I went down to my parent’s seats to try and put my luggage underneath and then go find somewhere to stand, when my Dad told me he was going to go sit with his friends from men’s league and let me sit next to my Mom. I’ve gone to a lot of games with my Dad but never had sat with my Mom before. Our entire “sit-together-chemistry” was at stake with this game, if it went wrong, I’d never be able to watch a big game next to my Mom again.
The game was tense but with each passing second that the Blues lead for, it felt stressful but inevitable. It was really going to happen this time. We were just waiting for confirmation… and it came from Brayden Schenn.
It was one of the coolest experiences ever to watch the Blues tack on goal after goal until Barbashev sealed the deal with an empty netter. I couldn’t believe it.
This was happening in real life and it was even more beautiful than I imagined. I hugged my mom as tight as I ever had and stared up at the arena. I’ll never forget how crazy people were going. It was a moment that I had thought about for so long and when the clock hit zero I felt like I was in a dream. “GLORIA!!! GLORIA!!!” blared over the speakers and the entire world felt like it was in slow motion.
The trophy presentation and 100 runbacks of Gloria were just so unbelievable. I couldn’t soak it in enough.
After the game I went downstairs to the SubZero Lounge to celebrate and let me tell you, it was one of the most beautiful scenes I’ve seen in sports. Players/friends/family/media all just glowing over the fact that this group had gotten further than anyone in 50 years.
Big Rig came by fresh off an interview and said whats up,
(little facetime in all the TV shots #Notabigdeallll )
I looked to my left and saw a face that has become very familiar for Blues fans in the past month, Laila. She was fired up about the win and everybody was coming by to say hello to her, to which she handled politely and with a smile every time.
I blogged about Laila here, but you can’t say enough about how amazing she is. If you’re interested in helping the Be The Match program, click here.
It was quite an emotional scene. After that I got to talk to a guy who has scored a few goals in his lifetime…
There were even some belly rubs for this good boy, Barclay.
I am not supposed to disclose the details of the rest of the night but let me tell you, drinking with your favorite team the night that they secured a place in the Stanley Cup Finals is even cooler than you might imagine. Every guy you’ve been repping for and blogging about nonstop and living and dying with in real life acting like your idiot friends you went to high school with is unreal. It was such an incredible night and when I had to leave at 4:30 to go to the airport to make my flight, I couldn’t believe it had all worked out like it did.
I went through security and got to the gate and saw Pierre McGuire standing with his suitcases. I don’t know what weird alternate reality I was in but it was certainly not the world I’d been living in for the previous 27 years of my life.
I can’t thank Big Rig or Adam Caruso enough, it was an a night I will remember for my whole life and worth every second of headache the next day when my head felt like it was going to fall off my body from not sleeping. Commuting 2,000 miles for a game is not something that’s very sustainable for 82 games, but when a chance at the Cup is on the line, anything goes. The first two Cup Final games in Boston were some of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had, but now, it is showtime for St. Louis. Tonight is our coming out party and I absolutely cannot wait. See you all there.