When it comes to the Boston Bruins and Colin, there's little that I won't allow. Skipping school? As long as he doesn't have a test. A Sabres fan wearing a Bruins jersey? Someone's got to have his back. Making countless calls to the Bruins Pro Shop in an attempt to get a Bruins Winter Classic Patrice Bergeron replica jersey? I'm still disappointed in myself for having to settle for a Tim Thomas model.
From the time Colin could walk, he's been around the Bruins. From practices in Wilmington, Mass., to this past week in Brandon, Fla., from a Bruins Wives Carnival to watching warm-ups at Bruins-Lightning games here in Tampa Bay, if it involves the B's, I do my best to make sure Colin gets to see his favorite team.
Is it overindulgence? You bet your sweet butt it is. Am I spoiling him? Oh, yeah, without a doubt. But, you know, it doesn't matter. In the interest of objectivity, I also make sure he hears "no" to enough of his myriad other requests that it all balances out.
More than anything else, though, it's about being the daddy I never had. I could sit here and wish all day that I had a dad who doted on me as much as I do on Colin. Well, guess what? It didn't happen. And it won't happen, either. I'll tell you something else, too. There isn't an ounce of regret.
In fact, I feel blessed. To be able to share these experiences with Colin are memories that will last lifetimes -- mine, his and, hopefully, his children should that time comes. I'm fairly certain, even now, that he'll pay it forward. That's what daddies do, right?
Yes, in a way, I'm getting to relive my childhood through Colin. Good or bad, I'm loving every minute of it.
Was that really necessary?
I couldn't help but laugh while getting an autograph from Boston's Zdeno Chara last week. It seems the gigantic Bruins defenseman was so convinced that I was double-dipping on him that he signed a Winter Classic photo of himself on the dark blue jacket of a Boston policeman.
Sadly, the photo was for me. I was doing a favor for another Hockey Bay hound. In fact, I don't believe I even asked Chara, who apparently is sensitive to these matters, for an autograph in the two days we hounded the Bruins. Over the years, I've scored enough pucks and cards from him that, rather than dealing with his attitude, I let him pass.
So, if Chara is a big fan of honesty, which really is a valued trait, here's a brutal dose of reality: Even if he did sign three items (two team photos and a card) for Colin, what he did by signing that photo is pure, unadulterated horse hockey.
There was no need for that. All he had to do was say "no."
Now that we find ourselves at the beginning of the Winter Olympics break, there will be a noticeable lull in hockey-hounding activities not just here in Hockey Bay, but all across North America. That doesn't mean, though, that Hound Central won't have fresh content.
Thanks to my two trusty correspondents Moody and Al, as well as some faithful readers, there will be a few items to keep yourselves occupied. I might even weigh in, too, providing some of the final chapters of the Hound Central legacy.