Editor's note: this article is part of alligatorSports' "Best Game I Ever..." series. To find the rest of our articles, visit this page.
I was never a hockey kid when I was younger — I don’t think most who grow up in South Florida are. Soccer and basketball were the sports that were bestowed on to me. The former became my life-long obsession at the age of six, and the latter being passed down to me from my father, who played through college.
That’s why to this day the fact that the best sporting event I have ever been to is a hockey game still kind of surprises even me. In fact, when our editor told us that we were all going to be doing a story on our favorite game to fill the void left by the lack of sports right now, my brain immediately went to either the time I high-fived Lebron and the rest of the Heat or my first European soccer game — but then I did do some thinking. The best sporting event I have ever been to was when the Florida Panthers hosted the Boston Bruins in March of 2014.
The reason why I was even at this game was because my grandparents were visiting us from Massachusetts, and my grandpa’s birthday just so happened to be in early March. When you think about things you want to give a grandparent, it can often be difficult because they have lived such fruitful lives and have gotten so many over the years, only the most special will do. I guess I was just lucky that year because the Panthers, the local team, were hosting his favorite sports team in the world, the Bruins.
My parents and I knew tickets to this game would be the perfect gift to a man who had watched almost all Bruins games from what I could remember. My mom decided to get three tickets, one for him, of course, one for myself and then one for my dad. She even drove all the way to BB&T Center just to pick them up so we didn’t have to stress about them ourselves.
Now as I said before, I wasn’t particularly aware of hockey and had never been to a game before, so I did what anyone who grew up in warm weather would do when going to somewhere hypothetically cold: I overdressed.
On the day of the match, I went in my closet to take out my large winter coat that only sees light when we head up north for the holidays. I put it on as well as my thickest jeans, anticipating freezing temperatures. When we got there it ended up being 65 degrees in the arena, something I would have never guessed and, well, I was very warm to say the least.
Although I spent a great deal of time with both my dad and my mom’s dad talking about and watching sports, we never really experienced any of this magic together as a trio for whatever reason. So, I was very happy we could all share this day out together in the latter stages of my grandfather’s life.
The Bruins ended up handily defeating the Panthers, 5-2 in front of an almost sold-out crowd. While it was exciting to see a high-scoring game, I was more elated at the fact that my grandpa was able to see his team take a victory backup to Beantown. He didn’t smile as much in his later years, but that day he smiled as if they had won the Stanley Cup.
In my opinion, this is what sports is about, these small moments that should have absolutely no emotional bearing on people but for some reason do. That’s why this random blowout on a Sunday night in Sunrise, Florida, meant so much. The bonding that can happen over sports is almost unparalleled even when it has nothing to do with the action itself. Sheerly experiencing something together can make you closer, and although my grandpa would pass within five years of that great day, that game will always be in my memory and always be the best.
Follow Myles Herbert on Twitter @myles_herbert. Contact him at email@example.com.