Here’s a little secret that most people didn’t know about me: I did not enjoy growing up in St. Louis when I was younger. I personally hated living in St. Louis. Why was that? What made St. Louis hateful for me? Was it the fact we didn’t have a football team anymore? I hated this city because we were the butt of everyone’s jokes in American sports. This all started when the Rams left St. Louis. My anger intensified when the city was called a “A Declining Market With A Weak Economy” by a traitorous owner after that same owner promised the city 6 years prior that he would try to do everything to keep the Rams in St. Louis. When the Rams moved to LA and started having more success as a franchise, I started to somewhat believe what Stan Kroenke had said about St. Louis out of jealousy and spite.
But when I saw the Blues win the Stanley Cup on my television in my living room alongside my brother and my mom, I had a sense of realization: that finally St. Louis could get the monkey off our backs, as Hall of Fame QB Steve Young coined the phrase when he threw 6 touchdowns in his first Super Bowl started in 1995.
But what was the monkey on our backs to begin with? Was it not being a big market, like New York or Los Angeles and trying to compete with them? No, it was disappointment. Besides the two World Series and the Super Bowl the city won in my lifetime, there was always a sense of being on the wrong side of history in not just sports, but in history entirely. From iconic moments like the Red Sox ending the Great Bambino curse, Tom Brady winning his first Super Bowl, the Bobby Orr flip to win the Stanley Cup, Steve Yzerman double OT goal in 1996, you could feel a sense that we were never gonna feel happiness truly as a city.
It was truly fitting that the Blues were the thing that could give us happiness finally in our city. The Blues were always the “black sheep” of the city: they had a history, but not necessarily a happy one. They always would disappoint you when it looked like they turned a corner. From the Bobby Orr goal to other heartbreaking moments, they always found a way to disappoint their fans in the most dramatic way possible. This season was no different.
What was a promising offseason became a movie that stunk worse than a Karate Kid sequel. They were terrible right out of the gate, they fired their head coach 18 games later, players started fighting each other in practice, and by January 3rd, they were dead last. At this point in a lackluster season, everyone including poster boy Vladimir Tarasenko and captain Alex Pietrangelo, were as good as gone and no one in the city cared about the Blues anymore. Then Jordan Bennington, who was the backup goalie in the Blues AHL affiliate, made his NHL debut on Jan. 7. What followed was an 11 game win streak in February, a 1982 song 37 years later becoming the rallying cry in St. Louis, and an incredibly hard fought playoff run capped off by winning the Stanley Cup for the first time in franchise history. You could finally feel that the Blues, and St. Louis ripped the “monkey off our backs.”
Sure we have 11 World Series, a Super Bowl that was 1 yard away from gone, an NBA championship from a millennia ago, but this Blues Stanley Cup win was different compared to all those championships. It felt like anything was possible. It gives generations of people in St. Louis from our past, present, and future a new chapter. With this cup victory, St. Louis’s story isn’t over yet. 2 days ago I thought this city was dying, now I feel like this city has a new hope and a new chapter it will write for itself. I am proud to live in the city of St. Louis.
Edited by Chuck Ryan