I could not find it in my files Thursday night, but I have, somewhere, a letter certifying that I am not a jinx on the Nashville Predators.
In the Predators' early years as an expansion franchise, I went to see them two or three times, and they lost each and every time. I wrote a tongue-in-cheek column for the newspaper in which I talked about how much I enjoyed going to the games (even back then, they had an irresistible, party-like atmosphere), but saying that if the team wanted to pay me to stay away, I'd reluctantly accept.
Our editor at the time, Mark McGee, was also a freelance hockey writer for the Nashville City Paper. He gave a copy of my column to one of his contacts at the Predators, and a week or so later I received a letter from Craig Leipold, the team's original owner. (He sold it in 2007.) It was a witty and charming letter in which he said the team did not believe me to be a jinx and would welcome my presence at any game.
Now, I can't find it. I know it's somewhere, it's just not in the places in the file cabinet where I expected it to be. I apparently misfiled it at some point.
It has actually been way too long since I've been to a Predators game. (Maybe that's why they're winning!) Regardless of how the Stanley Cup Final turns out (and I'm hoping for a win), I want to get back to Bridgestone Arena for a game or two next season. Some sports are easier to follow on television, but hockey is a sport that's much easier to follow in person. And it's really much easier to follow from at least midway up in the arena. Back in the days when I got Craig Leipold's letter, I was on an e-mail list and would occasionally get offers of an isolated, single lower-bowl seat for a last-minute, bargain price. I took one of those once -- I was sitting on the fourth row, just three rows behind Vanderbilt's football coach at the time. It's fun seeing the players crash into the Plexiglas right in front of you, but you can really follow the action much better from higher up.
I'm going to keep looking for that letter. It would be fun to post to Facebook during the finals. Go Predators — we want the Cup!