Friday, January 18, 2008

Simply The Best

Music has always been a huge part of my life. I've always loved to sing and to listen to all kinds of music. M earliest ambition was to be a singer, like Judy Garland or Barbra Streisand. In high school, my goal was to be the next Patti Lupone. I wanted to be a Broadway baby, win a Tony and have my name on a marquee on The Great White Way. Or, I would sing with the Metropolitan Opera at Lincoln Center. As it was, I was the only one in my glee club who could reach the high notes in Handels Messiah. Of course, unlike Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs, I never did make it to the opera. And I've only walked past Carnegey Hall. My first and last audition was a cattle call nightmare, and while I had more talent than some, there were those with more talent than me. The rejection killed both me and my dream. So, I focused my energies on singing into a hairbrush and on MTV.

Over the years, I've accumulated a vast collection of cd's (records at first...remember those? Black vinyl disks that you played on a turntable with a find them in antique shops now) My current cd collection could be referred to as eclectic, since I have everything from classical to punk in it. I just love music, and I let my mood dictate what I listen to.

It's easy for me to associate music with events in my life. Sometimes a song can just take me back to a time and a place, and make me smile.

Take tonight. I was on my way to Barnes & Noble to pick up a copy of Fast Company, since the cover boy for the month is none other than the afore mentioned Mike Rowe (great article, but some of the photos seem heavy on the air brush or the bronzer ;) ) when Tina Turner's Simply the Best came on the radio. Talk about taking me back...back to June 14, 1994. The night that the NY Rangers lifted the curse that had plagued them for 54 years and finally won the coveted Stanley Cup.

Hockey players covet, above all else, the elusive Cup. That's what they play for, the glory of the name engraved for eternity on The Cup. That glory eluded the NY Rangers for a half century. That all changed on June 14, 1994.

As the fans rejoiced and the players celebrated on the ice, the fancy men from the NHL prepared for what would be the most joyous occasion to ever grace Madison Square Garden: The Stanley Cup presentation. A table was set up on the ice, and a rubber mat unfurled over it. The noise of the Garden faithful reached a fever pitch as two men wearing white gloves slowly carried the most sacred of all trophies to the table, where it sat while the NHL Commissioner took the mic. Knowing how long the fans had waited, Bettman cut to the chase, and proclaimed "CAPTAIN MARK MESSIER, COME GET THE STANLEY CUP!" With that, The Captain skated over to the joyful screams of the fans. He waved, shook the commissioners hand, and picked up The Cup.

That's when Simply the Best started to play..."You're simply the best! Better than all the rest!"

As The Captain grinned and skated The Cup around the ice, holding it up so those lucky enough to be near the glass could reach over and touch it, the rest of New York City joined in the celebration. This was a win for the fans. There were tears of joy, both on the ice and off, and goosebumps as well.

I relive that moment in my mind every time I hear that song. The images so fresh, so clear, that it's almost just like that special early summer night. We won't be having a Stanley Cup celebration this season, but that's ok, because the one we did have was Simply the Best.

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