Devils Army (Re)United
I’ve learned over the last couple of years that when you come to love hockey and follow a team closely, sometimes it’s hard to occupy yourself in the off season. After coming down off the roller coaster ride of excitement, I start to get slightly depressed thinking about how much I miss the atmosphere of game day and being with all the great people I’ve become friends with throughout the season (and now, years!).
After experiencing my first playoff run to the Stanley Cup Finals as a fan, it was especially awesome knowing there were people around me who understood the various emotions bursting out. I never imagined I could get so overly emotional over a GAME. Having experienced it first hand NOW, I think I’ll handle myself better in the future, but at the time it was all raw, new and exciting. The upside of all of it is that the bonds I formed with my friends are stronger than ever before, and THIS summer we all made it our mission to see each other more often to ease the boredom and depressing aspect of waiting.
So, in addition to my usual horseback riding, which I wrote about last year, I spent my summer vacation planning events with different members of my Devils family.
My first adventure was with a group of friends who now call themselves the “Devils Army Reunion.” My friend Ed spent weeks planning a big group outing to a theme park, organized group rates with the park’s group sales, and asked me to help him spread the word on Facebook and Twitter. I lost count of how many of our friends came out to the event, and it was really neat not only seeing people who I normally only see at the arena, but also all the looks others were giving us as we roamed the park in our Devils gear! We rode roller coasters, laughed with the ride operators as we rode the water rides over and over again, and found names for all the numbered cars based on our favorite Devils players. It was a fantastic way to spend time together, and we plan to make it an annual event.
Another group of friends, including some of my fellow Generals, Kevin, Jaime and Steve, decided to do a 5k run together. We had a blast at the Color Run at Raceway Park in Englishtown, exercising and getting coated with color dye. Chrissy, who sadly was unable to join us, had a great idea for a future event, where we could invite others to go “Running with the Devil(s Generals).” We will have to see what the new year brings, but I thought it was a fun idea!
The last gathering of friends (but certainly not the LAST gathering of friends, as there are more plans brewing for the future!) was to meet a long time Facebook friend from Florida. I had already met my friend Joe once before, but some of our online group had not. So, we made arrangements and all got together at the Seaside Boardwalk. We played air hockey, tried our hand at the skill cranes, enjoyed dinner and a beautiful walk along the beach. Amazing to think that we all are from different parts of the country, not just NJ, and this one team brought us all together.
If not for my love of hockey, I never would have met all these wonderful people. This summer is a special one in that we all came together to deal with our post season blues. We’ve gone beyond our love of the team and love of the game and created other memories, that I for one, will look back on fondly. The summer has gone from a period of relative boredom and dread, to something I can look forward to, knowing my friends will be there whether we have hockey to talk about, or not!
Posted on September 18, 2012, in Devils Army, Devils Army Far and Wide, Devils Army Generals, It's A Jersey Thing, New Jersey Devils, New Jersey Devils Fans, NHL, Post-Season Depression and tagged Devils Army, Devils Generals, New Jersey Devils. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.