An amusing story:
Before the NHL season began, I decided that to mark my 50th year of being alive, I would see the Stanley Cup won for the first time.
It would presumably be a grand, time-consuming, expensive quest, perhaps causing me to commute between Edmonton and Tampa, or maybe Phoenix and Montreal.
I would offer to write stories about any games I attended, but I would pick up the travel costs myself.
But I made the committment, because even though I have been fortunate to attend 11 Super Bowls, three NBA Finals, three World Series, five basketball Final Fours, four lacrosse Final Fours, two Frozen Fours, two U.S. golf Opens, three U.S. tennis Opens, one U.S. bowling Open, a soccer World Cup, an Iditarod, a Belmont Stakes and other assorted major (and minor) sports events, I never, ever had seen the one sports championship that matters most.
Then the playoffs began, and with every round the Flyers survived - along the way overcoming a 3-0 series deficit against Boston, then a 3-0 deficit in Game 7 - the mission potentially got easier.
When San Jose and Montreal fell in the semis, it left me with an extremely manageable final in Chicago vs. Philadelphia.
Then the teams split the first two games, meaning I only needed to attend a maximum of two - Games 6 and 7.
Game 6 happened to be in Philly. So, yup, I was there Wednesday night, and honored to be so.
It was a good game. I wrote this column about it afterward.
Then I got to stand on the Wachovia Center ice - next to Scotty Bowman! - as the Blackhawks celebrated their first Cup since before Michael Jordan was born and when they had a young defenseman named Al Arbour.
(Sure, it would have been cool to see the Blackhawks win it on their home ice; but no one has seen that since 1938. They won it in Detroit in 1961.)
So in the end my Stanley Cup odysssey was not quite what I originally envisioned for my 50th birthday present to myself.
To review: I drove to Philly. I drove home.
But I'm not complaining. I saw the Cup won. Now I can die in peace.