we all have memories for a reason. these are some of mine.
on may 25, 1994, the eve of game six against the devils, in a series down 3-2, rangers center mark messier guarantees a victory with the words "we'll win tonight".
not only do they win, but he registers a hat trick and an assist, a heavy hand in all four rangers goals.
three weeks later, he leads the rangers to their first stanley cup victory in 54 years.
you can degrade sports all you want. but they produce moments, god those moments, that real life just can't compete with - such as that night at the garden when the rangers won and lifted the cup over their heads, that last long minute, the way messier kissed the cup, the way we worshipped richter and leetch, the wails of relief and happiness from those there and those nearby, especially the loud ruckus coming from the living room in staten island by a family of four.
it's the first stanley cup my father claimed as his own in his lifetime, a gift that i could never give to him myself.
today, the man who gave all that to me, my family and countless long-suffering rangers fans retired.
i guess i should say, "thank you, mark", but that really doesn't seem like much, is it?