Sunday, 16 November 2008

Sibling Rivalry

There has always been a natural rivalry between siblings since the beginning of time. It was no different in my house where my brother and I routinely watched our two teams battle it out on the ice for bragging rights at home. While it never came to sword-fighting like Stewie and Bertram to the left, my brother and I routinely found ourselves on the front street with our friends imitating our favorite players in the weekly street hockey game. And it was here where the sibling rivalry went to a whole new level.

My brother was a devout member of the Montreal Canadiens fanbase. It didn't matter who the Canadiens were playing, you could count on my brother cheering for one player: Patrick Roy. Roy was his all-time favorite player, and the posters adorning his bedroom walls of #33 were enough to make any old-time hockey dad proud.

Except my dad. You see, my dad was a devout Boston Bruins fan. My dad loved the Bruins of old - guys like Cheevers, Bucyk, Esposito, Orr, and O'Reilly. He would talk of how Orr skated like the wind, and how Esposito was tougher than nails. So when it came to playoff time around our household, it routinely was my dad and my brother glued to the TV to watch Hockey Night In Canada to see who was going to emerge from the Adams Division.

As for me, I was born a Mario Lemieux fan. My earliest memories of hockey were watching highlights of this prodigy in the yellow and black doing things with the puck that I couldn't imitate. Lemieux, while criticized for his lack of effort, seemed to make the game look effortless. When the Penguins began piecing together the players that lead to their success in the early 1990s, I was the kid glued to the TV while my dad and my brother waited for any highlights they could.

Of course, the three of us could barely be in the same room together during the playoffs in the late 1980s and early 1990s. As it went, Boston ran into some solid teams from Philadelphia and Edmonton, denying the legendary Bourque and Neely their Stanley Cup in Beantown. That still haunts my dad today as he claims that Boston will have to wait another generation for their chance at the Silver Chalice again.

Of course, I rode the Penguins' glory days in 1991 and 1992 as much as I could. Seeing Lemieux, Stevens, Jagr, Francis, Murphy, and Samuelsson hoist the trophy always seemed to raise the competitiveness between he three of us - in my dad because the Penguins ousted the Bruins, and in my brother because he felt the Canadiens were a better team.

My brother really stuck it to me in 1993 when the New York Islanders defeated the defending champion Pittsburgh Penguins in overtime, denying us the chance to really have a rivalry in the house. Of course, Montreal won the Stanley Cup that year, led by Patrick Roy's amazing overtime record, and my brother fed me as much crow as I could eat with his team winning the big prize.

However, it was always fun in our household no matter who was winning and who was losing. And that brings me to you. Did you and your siblings/parents have a natural hockey rivalry? If so, who were the teams that you and they cheered for?

I'm interested in hearing the responses. Blood is thicker than water, so they say, but it seems that team loyalty runs quite deep as well. Hit me up in the comment section with your rivalry.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

1 comment:

Kirsten said...

My brother isn't a sports fan at all, but we fight about everything else. My mom is ready to throw Guitar Hero out the window I think.

My mom raised me to root for teams in her image, so no problems there except for my illicit Oilers/Habs love.

My dad on the other hand...he's from Wisconsin. Packers fan, and boy do we gloat when our respective teams win. It's never ending and horribly, awesomely childish.