Robbie slept in the car from Legoland to the airport. After a fairly miserable experience with San Diego traffic the day before (the company wasn't miserable, the traffic was), I overshot for my estimated return time and we got to the airport a little early. (I tend to overshoot travel times anyway because, let's face it, who knows what could happen between Point A and Point B?) I'd planned on looking for a spot to eat dinner on the way home, but because California doesn't believe in telling you what's coming up at the next exit and because Robbie was sleeping anyway, we ended up going straight to the airport.
Now, I obviously knew that Game Seven between the Bruins and the Canucks was going on that night (hard to believe both of those teams were a Game Seven OT goal away from being ousted in the first round, eh?), so I may have subconsciously hoped we wouldn't find anywhere to eat before the airport in the hopes that I'd find a sit-down restaurant at the terminal with a TV tuned to the game. I may also have consciously hoped for that. At any rate, SAN delivered. There was a Chili's just a hundred yards or so from the baggage claim. Perfect. Robbie likes Chili's, I like Chili's, Chili's always has sports on, my chances were pretty good. The hostess asked how many. I said that we were two, and if possible we'd like to sit someplace where we could see the hockey game. I need not have made the extra request, though. Every TV in Chili's was showing the B's and the 'Nucks. (For a complete list of places I can remember ringing in the Stanley Cup Champions, see the end of this post) What made the evening even more fun was the fact that there were about four Boston fans sitting at the bar.
While I had been driving from Legoland, I got a phone call. In California, it's illegal to talk on the phone while driving, so I didn't check my message until we sat down at Chili's. It was from Kim, and her flight had been delayed. I looked up at the TV. Just about two full periods to go. Unless the game went overtime, we had a shot to catch the whole thing. What was left of it, of course. It was a pretty good game. Boston was up 1-0 when we arrived. When they scored again to go up two-nil, Chili's actually rang with applause. I'd never been to a restaurant where there were more than two other people watching the hockey game with me. It was kind of cool. (I do plan to make it out to the Maple Leaf Pub at some point next year, because that place just sounds awesome) The only damper on the evening was that the service was atrociously slow. I, of course, can grant some grace for that sort of thing, but a drowsy, hungry three-year-old has a little more trouble comprehending why he can't just get a glass of water when we've been sitting at the table for twenty minutes (or, in three-year-old time, "so so long"). When Patrice Bergeron scored to make it 3-0, you could tell the game was over. The final period would be played as formality only.
With about four minutes to go in the game, I get a call from Kim. Her flight has just landed, she says. I tell her we're just around the corner from the baggage claim, so could she call me once they'd gotten off the plane and to the baggage carousel? She said sure, and I hoped this would buy me enough time to get to the celebration. I love the moment when the Cup is won and sticks and gloves fly into the air and goalies get mobbed. It's a beautiful moment. Even with an empty-net goal and the subsequent celebration, I still got to catch the final buzzer. As teammates swarmed around Official FOMW Favorite Tim Thomas, the phone rang again. Kim and Isaac were at the baggage claim. Perfect.
As Robbie and I left the Chili's, I realized that we were the last ones there. In fact, they'd even closed the pull-down grate halfway. They were ready to shut down, but rather than ask me to leave they'd let me finish out the end of the game. Slow service or not, that's classy. We'd had a fun day at Legoland and a good dinner, I'd got to watch the Stanley Cup, and now my family was together again for the rest of vacation. Not bad at all.
Incidentally, every year, the CBC puts together a montage of the entire playoffs that airs as they sign off from their coverage of the last Cup Final game. It's always awesome. Last year's is still my favorite (by far), but here's this year's montage anyway:
2011: Game 7, Boston over Vancouver: Chili's restaurant, San Diego International Airport w/ Robbie
2010: Game 6, Chicago over Phildelphia: At home with Tarvis and Deb (Kim was around but not watching)
2009: Game 7, Pittsburgh over Detroit: At home, watching the closing moments w/ Dave on the phone and planning our Victory Party at Denny's
2008: Game 6, Detroit over Pittsburgh: At Dav's Holly Hall apt with Dave as Hossa put the puck just wide of the far post as time expired
2007: Game 5, Anaheim over Ottawa: Texas Woman's Hospital, Kim's room, with Kim and Christa.
2006: Game 7, Carolina over Edmonton: The Braesmont apartment with Jason B
2005: No Stanley Cup due to stupidity
2004: Game 7, Tampa Bay over Calgary: I actually missed this game because I was in rehearsal for Oklahoma! at Horsefeathers and Applesauce Professional Dinner Theater. Our TD's girlfriend was a big TB fan, tho, so she was texting him updates to send along to me. Got the final score right before the final time running through The Farmer and the Cowman for the last time that night
2003: Game 7, New Jersey over Anaheim: At The Quality In in Bowling Green, Ohio, the day before loading into The Huron Playhouse. Roommate A.J. was sleeping at the time
2002: Game 5, Detroit over Carolina: In my apartment at Horsefeathers and Applesauce, throwing my empty water bottle at Dominik Hasek. Friend Tony was in the room at the time
2001: Game 7, Colorado over New Jersey: Listening to the scrambled, fuzzy picture on the black-and-white TV I lugged up the hill at H&A to the scene shop so I could listen to the game while weaving those #*@& giant potholders we used for the South Pacific set.
2000: Game 6: New Jersey over Dallas: Was driving home for the weekend during my first H&A summer; walked in the door just as New Jersey scored the OT winner
1999: Game 6, Dallas over Buffalo: Had a dress rehearsal for My Fair Lady with Wellington Community Theater. My dad was recording the game and I hoped to watch it when I got home. Instead, the game went three overtimes, so I watched those live instead (with my Dad)
1998: Game 4, Detroit over Washington: Was vacationing in California and missed this one. Really didn't feel like watching Detroit win another Stanley Cup, not after...
1997: Game 4, Detroit over Philadelphia: At home in Wellington, watching with my dad.
1996: Game 4, Colorado over Florida: At home, watching with Mom, Dad, and Christa. Triple-overtime was a huge deal back then, because at this point I rarely stayed up till midnight, let alone till one a.m.
1995: Game 4, New Jersey over Detroit: The first of four straight sweeps; an afternoon game while I was in California, watching with Dad, Uncle Jim, and Gramps.
1994: Game 7, New York (R) over Vancouver: At home, watching with whole family. Vancouver rioted after losing that one, too. (First time I ever watched the Stanley Cup awarded)