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Gary’s Blog: New York, New York

By Gary Dickman.

I’ve been a sports fan since I was a little kid. Nothing mattered as much to me as my teams’ success, or in many cases, lack of success. And that’s kind of why I’m not sure how to feel right now as a spirts fan. Two of my favorite teams are still in the playoffs. This is like uncharted territory for me. Think about my favorite teams in the four major sports: The NY Mets, they’ve won two World Series, in 1969 and 1986. The Mets have been in two World Series this century, and of course lost them both. I’m a NY Jets fan (yes, a few of us do exist). To put this into perspective, the Jets have won one home playoff game since 1988. That’s not much. They did win a Super Bowl, but that was 51 years ago. My NY Knicks and Brooklyn Nets, not many playoff appearances this century, and even fewer playoff rounds won.

Some might not believe this, but my favorite pro team of all time is the NY Islanders. I wrote last week how hockey is the best sport to watch in person, and the NY Islanders played their home games just a few miles away from where I grew up. I guess I can say it now, but when I was in high school after dinner I’d take some school books with me and told my parents I was going to the library to study. I’d then hide the books in the bushes at my house, and go to a Islanders or Nets game. I’m not proud of that now, but I was very proud of it then. I loved going to Nets and Islanders games, those were the good times. When I moved out here to Hawaii, the Nets had very little success over the years, except for two NBA Finals losses in 2002 and 2003. The NY Islanders won four Stanley Cups in a row, from 1980-83, and lost in the finals in the fifth year. They are the last team in pro sports to win four consecutive  championships, and I doubt any team will ever do that again.

I bring up the Nets and Islanders because they are both still playing. The Islanders are in the NHLs version of the Final Four. If they get past Tampa Bay, they could play Las Vegas for the Cup. But just the fact that they’re still playing. How about this for a playoff drought: The Islanders went from 1993 through 2016 (23 years( between playoff victories. Now you understand how unusual this all is for me. And if wasn’t for  Kyrie Irving and James Harden and their injuries, the Nets could be winning it all this year. They still might.

I love the beginning of the playoff seasons for the NBA and NHL, because on weekends there are games all day long. And this past Sunday, a first for me. Both the Islanders and Nets in playoff games at the same time. Thank you, sports gods. I hope next week they’ll both still be playing.

Most people who know me know that I’m not a fan of alarm clocks. I know they’re important, but I consider it a good day if I don’t have to use one. But last week I did need a very early wake up call, 5:45 a.m. to be exact. I didn’t hear the alarm until 5:54, I think the first few minutes of it were part of my dream. But I woke up incredibly early for a good reason. I had found out that my favorite singer and musician, Bruce Springsteen, was bringing his “Springsteen on Broadway” play back to NYC this summer. And what a coincidence, I’ll be back there as well. I had seen Bruce in his one-man play in 2018. It was a night I’ll never forget. I got seventh row dead center, where tickets were very expensive and still impossible to get. My brother Marty was the one who got be hooked on Springsteen, and he flew into NY just to see him with me as I was gonna be on my vacation. Marty was suffering from Parkinson’s and dementia at the time, and this was as it turned out the last thing we got to do together, which was so fitting.

I was surprised I was able to get through to the website selling tickets, last time it took four tries of getting up early and no luck until finally getting them. This time, within 10 minutes I was able to get in and get fifth row, close to center. I am going to three baseball games, but seeing “Springsteen on Broadway” will have very special meaning to me. I can’t wait, NYC here I come.

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