As a child, I lived a few short blocks from Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox. It was just a short ride on "The T" as it was (not so) affectionally called by us "locals," and tickets were cheap back then. That is, IF we were to BUY tickets at all! Most all of the people who frequented Fenway knew that their ticketing methods weren't the best at that time. A days entertainment could be had for the price of a hot dog and a coke.

Of course, we always had the Celtics, the Patriots, and the Bruins accessible to us as well. The Celtics and Bruins were at the Boston Garden, where parking could be a problem and although basketball was cool, who would want to watch a bunch of guys beating on each other, and chasing a little black disk around the ice anyway? Certainly not ME!! Hockey was not something I was the least bit interested in.

I then moved to Maine. Here, you were lucky if the pro game made it to the tube. You can be sure that if there's a high school game at the same time, it's the pro team that will be pre-empted. No pros, no minor leagues, no farm teams, no nothing. Being located very close to Orono, Maine, where you find the University of Maine, and the University of Maine Black Bears, I learned very quickly of their popularity. But how could one ever get excited about college athletics, like the "natives" here? Besides, it was hockey that got their interest, and that's just not my cup of tea.

At the insistance of a friend, (and I use that term loosely since no "friend" would put me through such torture), I ended up at the Alfond Arena, with my (then) five year old daughter in tow, only to stand in sub zero weather with a couple of thousand other "fans" waiting for the doors to open, so that I could then subject myself to MORE torture! "I must be nuts," I told my friend, who said, "Just give it a chance."

We took our seats, packed sardine-style, with the band playing the "Maine Stein Song," (which you're listening to), very loudly. The noise was deafening......"More reasons to hate this sport," I thought. As play began, I could think of nothing else than when we were going to leave this place.

I have to admit, by the time the team scored its first goal, I was taken in by all the enthusiasm. When Maine scored its first goal, my daughter cried, scared by the roar of the crowd, and the sudden jolt of the band, but she quickly learned that this was a good thing, and stood applauding and high-fiving those around her.

The rest is history. I am, (as much as I hate to admit it), a die-hard hockey fan. Though we have a fairly small university, the program has become HUGE, winning two national championships in five years. It's had its ups and downs, but now is definitely an up time! And I can now proudly say:

Hooray to the University of Maine Black Bears!!

Maine Stein Song midi sequenced by ~CHRIS SAYLES~
Visit his page for the REAL scoop on Maine Hockey!

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