The St. Louis Blues championship parade was always going to be one for the ages. However, as the year anniversary rolls around, who knew it would still be so memorable?
The St. Louis Blues always said that it would be the biggest party we had ever seen if/when the team had a parade down Market Street. They were not lying, as we still feel the good vibes from that march down the city a year later.
Nobody would have thought you could equal the joy felt when the Blues finally won the Stanley Cup. When the final seconds ticked off the clock and everyone that ever bled blue in their entire life unleashed a torrent of joy that might reverberate though time and space, it was a different kind of emotion.
That was all the pain, all the anguish, all the waiting coming out of every pore in a joyous explosion. A few days later, three to be exact, we got to experience a different kind of emotion.
While joy was still at the heart of it all, it was just pure celebration. No longer were there any anxious moments or dark thoughts about what might spoil any of it. It was all just a party, whether you were three or 93, drunk or sober.
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What a party it was. A year later, it still brings up fond memories and ones that we will likely have forever.
Even the bad stuff has to bring a smile to your face. My wife and I stayed in a downtown hotel right next to the parade route with the intention of getting up early and finding a spot.
Unfortunately, a bout of sickness or food poisoning for myself threatened to spoil it all. Thankfully, it passed enough for us to not have to seek out a bathroom the next day.
That was a great thing since we had to plant ourselves like a rock to not lose our spot. What happened the next morning is we tried to grab a spot, but the skies decided to open up.
My wife made a dash for it and actually found a spot very close to the hotel so I would have access to our room in case of a sickness emergency. What happened was we almost got in a fight because a group of people claimed that was their spot and they only left it to get out of the rain.
In full honesty, I’m 6’0 and weigh over 200 lbs, however it was my 5’1 wife that manned up and said we weren’t moving. Me, being ever courageous, just wanted to avoid conflict, but we just sat in our spot and stared at the road for about an hour until they left us alone. Very manly, right?
Anyway, thankfully she was the bold one because we had a spot right on the railing. In my head, I compromised with the other group and stood behind her so they could have some room up front too.
While that was all an ordeal, it was worth it. Despite the long wait for anyone to get down to our position, it was one of the most fun days we ever had.
Seeing players go back and forth across the road to interact with fans was a sight. Even though we had semi-fought with the people next to us earlier, we were all just focused on enjoying the moment and it was all forgotten.
I vividly remember Ryan O’Reilly and his Amish-style hat, which he pulled off brilliantly. I remember seeing the guys come by on the scooters, with Jordan Binnington’s oversized goalie jersey flowing in the wind.
I won’t soon forget the moment my wife had with Steve Ott. She is Canadian and from the same province as Steve Ott. She was wearing her Canadian t-shirt under her Blues jacket and managed to catch his eye.
That simple acknowledgement was something that will stick with her for a very long time, if not forever. The fact it made her so happy made me happy. Those canuckleheads like to stick together.
Normally waiting is agony. It is a big reason why I have not been back to Disney World since I was young.
This was different though. You took joy in seeing the little kids start throwing a ball across the street to those on the other side of the barricades.
You can remember almost every float that went by. Each moment seemed frozen in time, even though it all passed so quickly.
Everyone experienced it the same, even though every person will have different recollections.
What we can all agree on, or most of us, is that it will go down as the best parade in St. Louis history. Sorry Cardinals fans, but this was just on another level.
Part of that is likely because it was the first. Even if the Blues win more Stanley Cups, it will never be quite the same.
Much of it, though, has to do with the players. Never before had players got out of their cars or down from their floats to join in the way the Blues did.
Vince Dunn, fully smashed, was doing swan poses on the railings. Jake Allen, Brayden Schenn and a host of other players were showering the crowd with beer or champagne.
It was more than just smiling and waving from a car. They were part of the celebration, not just the cause of it.
On 101 ESPN, on the one-year anniversary of the parade, they said it all. They said this parade set the standard by which all future championship parades will be judged.
That is not to say every team or athletes will get out of the cars, because not every team has that kind of connection to their fans. The Blues did and they do.
They knew what this meant to this city and its fans. They knew how big a deal it was.
Who else but the Blues would carry around the heavy trophy just so fans could get as much as a fingertip to it? Just the Blues.
In the end, it was something we might never witness again. We should all be thankful we had that opportunity to come together as a group of fans of one team and unite with those players and all involved. It was something truly special.