To: Tom Dundon, new owner of the Carolina Hurricanes
It’s been nearly a year and a half since I posted “The Hat” on Facebook. Since that time, not much has changed. We remain wondering when… We are a patient lot, and the Hat represents both hope and the wear and tear of wondering when. At the homestead, we are excited about the new Canes owner, Tom Dundon. He showed up wearing the colors and he has a history of making things happen. Lord knows we need that.
When he talked about the “fan experience,” I thought it might be worthwhile to offer the simplicity of the fan experience that we have been seeking since the “streak.” We will endure the price of parking, the food (and the wait), the narrow, uncomfortable seats, and we will show up and we will be there for you. We have done that. We don’t need distractions (kiss cam, human bowling, etc.) and don’t want those sideshows to soften the blow of losing. The fan experience, the one we crave, is being on the razor’s edge of competing for something that matters, showing up like we do, with the best intentions, with the best team we can put on the ice, and the hope and possibility of what we experienced all those years ago. Know that we support you and are right there with you, Mr. Dundon. We wish you the best…
The Hat: A Reprise
A little over 11 years ago the Carolina Hurricanes won the Stanley Cup and an amazing streak started at the Panepinto home. The Hat, a keepsake of the Stanley Cup win, became a part everyday life and my youngest, Evan, wore it everywhere. And he wore it out! After years of wear and tear the hat became a symbol of perseverance, and a reminder of loyalty. Though Evan was asked several times, he did not want a new hat. He wanted another Cup and would not break his streak until the Canes won again.
Time went on…
And the Hat became an attraction all its own. Back then Evan was playing tennis and wherever we went, other players would say, “That’s the kid with the hat.” They would gawk and stare and wonder why… Well, here’s why: The precious memento began to look like a visor as most the fabric had turned to dust leaving a skeleton of the ghost of 2006. Evan insisted on wearing the hat and his belief persisted that the Canes would rise again.
It was a sad day when the hat was retired. It sits triumphantly amidst many of his honors, a reminder of a magical ride and a young boy’s belief in his team. Interestingly the theme for the Cup that year on home ice was Bruce Springsteen’s, “The Rising.” I still get chills having had the chance to be there for one of the games in the Stanley Cup final.
“Come on up, lay your hand in mine…”
We wait patiently at our home. Hopes for next season spring eternal. Maybe the hat will make another appearance, reminders of the innocence and purity of sports when the noise is stripped away.