I don’t always go to San Jose to watch the Oilers play playoff hockey, but when I do I make sure it’s after a ten year playoff drought. And apparently, so do a lot of other Oilers fans.
I’ll have a full account of my journey down to San Jose and the experience here once I’m back, but I wanted to give you all a taste of what’s happening down here in Sharks territory:
Straight from warm-up time and throughout the whole game Oilers fans were making it known that we had every plan to try to drown out Sharks fans in their own barn. And we put up a good fight.
This was the scene outside of the SAP Center after the game (bless you, Kass). This continued down the street and into the closest San Jose bar (which played host to more Oilers fans than Sharks fans).
I think the best part of all of it isn’t the rush of jeering the San Jose fans and chanting until our voices are hoarse, but the fact that each and every fan you meet feels like someone you’ve known them for years. We’re all here for the same reason. We’ve all been waiting out the same decade of darkness. We’re all just happy to be living the dream with our team. I was invited into strangers’ selfies, high-fived by people I’ve never met, invited to a pre-game party at a San Jose-livin’ Oilers fans home as long as I took my shoes off (true story), and raised multiple glasses to a team and their faithful fans with strangers who quickly became friends. I’ve even made friends with plenty of Sharks fans who are impressed with the dedication they see from the Oilers faithful.
It’s a funny thing, this game we love. It turns strangers into friends without a word being exchanged – the matching jerseys say it all. We’ve been waiting a long time for this moment and I can 100% confirm that Oilers fans are making the best out of it. Shoutout to all the fantastic fans I’ve met, the stories they’ve shared with me, and the glasses we’ve raised together. You’re fine people, Nation.