Chris Botta held his annual Point Blank Night at Social tonight, and The Rivalry was in attendance. Here are some notes from a quality evening...
- Social is a pretty nice place. I'm a graduate student at Hofstra, so I always pass by it and dismiss it as an average Hofstra bar. Turns out it's not a bad place at all. I'd go back there again. However, I did not notice the requisite touch-screen machine with Photo Hunt that's present in every bar everywhere.
- I arrived at Social around 7:50 or so. I had to take a midterm right before (it was harder than I thought, but I still did well) and so it was nice to head out and blow off some steam afterward. What was also nice was that the Islanders were already winning 1-0 when I got there. Sadly, I missed out on the complimentary shot after that goal.
- The food was catered by Danny Gagnon, who was on a show called Top Chef that I've never heard of. I never got the appeal of these cooking shows. But this food was all kinds of awesome. Truly impressive stuff. And it was free!
- I didn't even get a beer before Tampa Bay tied the game at 1-1. Bergenheim, of course. Where were those moves last year?!?!?
- Social was pretty packed, and it was clear that the focus of the night was the Islanders game. A small TV showed the NLCS game, which was nice for those who are stuck with Cablevision and can't watch the series. Every other TV was on the Islanders game, and virtually every person in there was dressed in Islanders gear. Except for me, that is; I forgot to bring a change of clothes, so I was the d-bag in his shirt and tie from work earlier in the day.
- I couldn't stay for the whole game because I'm married with kids and so I don't get to have any fun anymore. But before I left, Botta took the mic to thank everyone for coming. He also announced that Billy Jaffe was in attendance, which brought a large cheer from the crowd.
- On my way out, I wanted to see if I could find Botta, but I couldn't do it. But then, I turned around and noticed two guys with bald spots watching the game. It was Botta and Jaffe at the same table, watching the game! My brother encouraged me to say hello, which I usually never do, but I wanted to say thanks to both of them for their contributions to my enjoyment of Islanders hockey. So I ran over there at a stoppage, apologized for interrupting, said my piece, shook both their hands, and got out of there. Both men were extremely gracious - Jaffe even got up out of his seat - and I came away liking both of them even more than I did before.
- I wanted to share this story with Botta, but I didn't want to keep him. My mom used to work with his mom at North Shore-LIJ. When my mom bought me "Pride and Passion", the "official" Islanders coffee table book that Chris co-wrote, my copy ended up getting in Chris' hands so that it could get autographed by some Islanders. It came back to me some time later with Al Arbour's signature. I still have that book today, and much of it holds up pretty well. However, the full-page picture of Dan Plante, future Islanders scrub who was hailed as a cornerstone of the future, does not hold up very well.
- I got home in time to see the end of the third period and the overtime, in which the Islanders scored a much-debated goal to win the game. Watching the game on MSG Plus 2 in standard definition was a rude awakening as to how life will change when I switch to Verizon FiOS next month and say goodbye to Islanders HD games forever. On a night like tonight, it was very inconvenient, especially when it came to judging the merits of the game-winning goal. Butch Goring claimed it "clearly" went in, which I guess is why he was calling the game and Billy Jaffe was drinking beers at Social. Either way, it's an Islanders win, and I'll definitely take it.
- One last note on tonight. As Jaffe himself might say about himself, here's a guy who was canned by the Islanders just months ago. And yet, he came out to watch his former team play. He came to an event hosted by Chris Botta, who was let go as an Islanders-sanctioned blogger more than a year ago, but continues to blog about the team. On color commentary was Butch Goring, a former player who was unceremoniously dumped by the Islanders as coach in 2001, yet still sticks around on Islanders telecasts. Three men who have every right to be bitter towards the Islanders organization, but who have willingly stuck around. Does this happen elsewhere, in other cities for other teams? I don't think so.
I guess you could say the same about Islanders fans. For all of the crap we fans give the Islanders, we've all stuck around. Things might finally be starting to turn the corner with this team, and we all deserve to take pride in that. On this night, seeing the scene at Social, and even seeing some spurned people show their loyalties, it made me very proud to be an Islanders fan.