Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Journey Continues In 2011 With Team No. 38: The Philadelphia 76ers

Yes, 2011 is almost six whole weeks in and here I am with not one new team knocked off the list. This isn't the worst thing if I'm planning on keeping pace with the needed rate. I decided a year ago that if I wanted to see all 122 teams by the time I was 55, this would require seeing roughly six new ones per year -- or one every two months. Well fortunately, I'm not too far gone for that pace to continue so far, and this calendar year could actually have me seeing as many as 11 teams or as few as, well, one.

But I will have one!

And I know that because Team No. 38 will be crossed off the list this Friday when myself and at least five other hearty souls attend the Knicks-76ers game at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. While I've already attended this building once for a Flyers game a year ago, I'm extremely excited for a few reasons. Firstly) It's one step closer to my goal. Obviously. Secondly) While I was never not a Knicks fan over the last decade, this season has easily made me a reinvigorated one. Thirdly) Rather than traveling to meet one or two people, as is the usual situation, a whole group of my friends and I will be driving down to Philadelphia for the game. Fourthly) I'll be wearing the first Knicks jersey I've ever owned. Fifthly) There may be a potential tour of Lincoln Financial Field in the works provided I don't let my anti-Philadelphianism get the best of me.

And I am anti-Philadelphia. I have made this clear. But sometimes you have to go to the belly of the beast to get what you want, and I have a goal to accomplish. Sometimes we do unsavory things, even if there are cheesesteaks involved.

Whether or not that cheesesteak from Pat's is involved is yet to be seen, but either way, it should be a fun evening for all involved with one more step being taken towards those white pearly gates of the North American sports scene.

As it stands, that will be my first trip of the year, but hopefully the first of many. I am expecting to see the Washington Capitals when they host the Blackhawks in March and I recently booked a flight to Detroit in April where I will see the Pistons and Red Wings. Originally I considered flying out in January to see the Red Wings play the Devils, but a) the Devils are in the midst of a painful season and b) it's January in Detroit. I've had more than my fair share of snow this year. I'm not interested in anymore. Unless all of the snow results more star wars statues like the one to the left.

I'd sign up for that in a second.

Before I wrap up, I should note that this will be my first trip since December's adventure to Nassau Coliseum to see the Islanders face-off with the Penguins, and in a bit of full-circle quirkiness, the Islanders played the Penguins again tonight. This time the Penguins won fairly easily, but the score was almost secondary because this game featured something I would have killed to see in person. That's right. This game featured the two greatest words in hockey.

"Goalie Fight."

That's the Islanders' Rick DiPietro being dropped like a rag doll by Pittsburgh's Brent Johnson, and while Johnson may be a backup goaltender, he appears to be a first-rate pugilist with a cross like that. If that isn't DiPietro's career as an Islander in a nutshell, well, I don't know what is. Thanks for letting us watch, Rick.

On that note, I'm done with this ramble. See you in Philly.

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