A couple of weeks ago the biggest question on my mind was who would go native and eat grits out of the Stanley Cup. I never thought I would be spending the ensuing weeks budgeting out time to hand out packets of grits and bottles of water and buckets of cleaning supplies to people who were hit by last week’s floods.
It would be great to spend more time watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Aside from being a dedicated fan of the Predators, I love good hockey and there has been a lot of it going on. Congratulations the teams and their fans who are still in the running for the Cup. Chin up, Ovi. There’s always next year.
There’s always next year for us, too. We have a great team here in Nashville, not only on the ice, but off of it as well. Reports have been coming in revealing that people from the Predators Organization have made themselves available to help with the recovery efforts in Nashville. We never expected anything less.
What those of you in other parts of the hockey community need to realize is that the Seventh Man has also made his presence known during this time. Make no mistake about it, hockey fans are some of the best people in the world. Every day that I’ve gone to my volunteer gig, I have seen cars with Preds license plates, stickers, and magnets parked near the disaster information center. In the midst of some of the grimmest work many of us will ever do, there are still the cheerful greetings between members of the Tiger Tribe, the Preds Faithful who recognize each other by our fangear.
We are held together by our affection for the game, our loyalty to anyone who wears the mustard and blue laundry, and most important of all, our love for this city. We are the citizens of Smashville and we have taken some hard knocks lately, but we’re going to be okay.
A friend of mine in another town asked me what I had been thinking as I drove around the city this past weekend. I had to tell her it was the same thing I always think. Its the same four words that seem to repeat unbidden like some deeply ingrained mantra every time I see the skyline looming in the distance, every time I see the Opry House and the Parthenon and the Frist Center, every time I drive past Bridgestone Arena and see that a long held wish for me and many other people has come true: I love this town.
With the heartbreak of the past few weeks comes the promise of tomorrow. We are bruised and battered here in Nashville. We’ll get over it. We’re already on our way even as you read this. Why? The spirit of never giving up, never saying die, it’s in all of us. The smilodon is our totem and the tiger abides.
NOTE: Patten Fuqua, one othe evil geniuses behind Cellblock 303, has written an excellent piece about the character of my city. Check out We Are Nashville.