People wonder how I can still be a Stars fan 13 years after they left town. As far as I know I'm the only Stars fan left here which would mean that I have been following the Stars longer than any other person on the planet. People hate the Stars almost as much as they hate the Packers up here and when they boo them they think they're still booing Norm Green. I'm not gaining any popularity by wearing my Mike Modano jersey around town, that's for sure.
The question is not an easy one to answer and I'll have to go deep into the past to explain myself. While my first loves have always been the Vikings and Twins, I still rooted for the North Stars growing up. (Incidentally, we always referred to them as 'the Stars' in casual conversation back then rather than the North Stars to avoid developing a lisp, so dropping the 'North' from the name didn't affect me too much.) I cheered them on during their Stanley Cup run in '91 and I caught as many games on TV as I could during the season.
I had always shuddered at the thought of the Vikings moving away. I saw it happen to the Colts when they moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis in '84 and I tried to put myself in their position. I couldn't see myself ever cheering against the Vikings so in my 8-year old mind I determined that I would remain loyal to the Vikings no matter what city they played in. My theory was put to the test nine years later, but it was the Stars rather than the Vikes who headed south. I still needed a team to root for and they still wore the same uniforms so I remained a Stars fan while the rest of my state sulked. My loyalty paid off in '99 when they won the Cup and the rest of Minnesota eagerly awaited their new expansion team.
Then came the Wild (seriously, that's the name of the team). I thought it was a joke at first, but then I saw that new orange and green logo skating out onto the ice for their first game and I knew it must be for real. To this day I can't figure out whether I'm supposed to refer to the Wild as 'them' or 'it.' Even the sportswriters can't make up their minds.
Well, I thought it would never catch on but the rubes flocked to the arena every night and sold out every game. I just couldn't do it. I couldn't jump on the bandwagon of the first team that showed up in town after being a lifelong Stars fan. As much as I would like to share loyalties with my Minnesota brethren there are just too many reasons not too. I can't get behind a team with that hideous logo and a name that sounds like it belongs in the WNBA or the XFL. And Mike Modano has been my favorite player since before my voice started to crack. Am I supposed to blame him for the move?
Furthermore, I can't stop hoping for a day when the Stars finally come back home. That's my dream anyway. They can't stay in Dallas forever. I mean, they only fill a third of the arena every night and people in Texas don't know whether the puck is blown up or stuffed. They at least have to move to a more northern city so I won't have to drive 1,000 miles to catch a game. Or the Wild could stay right where they are in St. Paul and the Stars could move up to Minneapolis. What a great rivalry that would make.
Okay, so maybe I'm a dreamer but that's what keeps a sports fan going. I just think loyalty is important, even in small matters. I don't trust a bandwagon jumper. If people can't be loyal in small matters then don't expect them to take their marriage vows seriously either. I know, I know - completely different. But there is some truth to it. Next time you meet a Yankee fan who's not from New York or a Red Wings fan who's never been to Detroit ask him how many times he's been divorced. Ladies, check your fella's closet sometime. If you find two or more of the following teams represented - Yankees, White Sox, Patriots, Cowboys, Red Wings, Lakers, Packers, Spurs, Cavaliers - then don't be surprised to see him leave you for his new secretary as soon as you start to put on a little weight.
So now the playoffs are about to begin and the Stars are the number two seed while the Wild are (is?) sitting home for another year. As much as it hurts me to cheer against a team in my own state (but not my city) and cheer for a team that plays in the same state as the Cowboys, I just can't bring myself to change. I guess what I'm trying to say is, Dallas Stars, I wish I knew how to quit you.