Thursday, August 6, 2009

Gray Remembers Meeting JR

This story will probably overlap a lot with one that Mina could, and probably should, tell, but it is what it is.

Two summers ago I heard that JR was coming to the Sharks. Knowing his reputation, and with the story of him going to get a steak during a game that he was a scratch for still fairly fresh in my mind, I was a bit concerned. I might have been relatively new to fandom, but I knew JR's reputation for running his mouth and creating a bit of controversy. I also knew he hadn't been playing to his potential the past few seasons, and I was concerned that his signing might be more of a burden than a boon for Team Teal. Mina and I discussed this at length, and at some point I decided that if DW saw something in him, then it was there and it was better to just not worry about it. Doug says he'll behave, alright, he'll behave.

Teal and White rolls around. (the Sharks v Sharks preseason game played before final rosters are set. It's purely for the fans but it's a great time) It's the first chance I have to attend and I am super psyched. Wandering around, we see autograph lines wrapped around the main concourse for the bigger name players; Joe Thornton, Patty Marleau, etc. We decide to hit the shortest line and get autographs from Seto (not yet on the team), two or three other players I can't remember who aren't playing in SJ now, and JR. JR?! At this table? What?!

JR was the nicest guy in the row. The others were new to this level of fan support and turn out and were a bit shell shocked. Not rude, just, well, overwhelmed. But JR, JR was talking to everyone that walked by. He had a huge smile on his face and you could tell he was genuinely happy to be in San Jose. Ever concern I had about him coming to SJ left me at the point.He was animated and very cordial with all the fans who went past him. My turn came, and I welcome him to San Jose and told we were happy to have him. He lit up and thanked me, and said he was really happy to be here. That moment was small, but it totally sold me on JR. I'll let Mina fill in her side of the story, because it's even better and goes a long way to help explain our fondness for number 27. He played so well that season, it just cemented his place here as a fan favorite. His game 7 performance against Calgary was insane.

I have a Roenick jersey in my closet now, and despite his retirement I plan to wear it often this coming season.

He was only here for 2 seasons, but San Jose loved those two seasons we got.

Thanks JR!



Kate said...

I read that the NHL Network is going to run a days' worth of JR-themed programming this Sunday. Starting at 6am California time.

Gray said...

They are indeed! They announced the same thing at the press conference. Wish I got NHL Live! :(

PooksRutherford said...

I am so sad about JR retiring, I was hoping he'd give us one more year! But that being said, whatever he ends up doing, we all know he'll put 100% of his heart into it and hopefully his post-hockey career will begin with "Dancing with the Stars".