Isles Emotions: Goose Bumps, Tears and Victory

You can go to any sporting event and feel something inside you. You may cry, get angry, smile, cheer and let out your inner kid. It happens to everyone. Even if you don’t like sports you find yourself emitting some kind of feeling for the games and players, maybe even the venue.

I thought long and hard about how I wanted to cover the final season for the Islanders at Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum. I’m not going to write game stories. I’m not going to get fan reactions. I’m not going to record major milestones. You can get that anywhere else.

For me, it’s the feelings I’ll generate throughout the season that will mean the most. The feelings based on the sounds, the sights, the moans, the groans, the player interaction, the laughs, the jeers, and everything in between. It’s how I’ll remember the Coliseum during its final curtain call.

Throughout this historic season in Uniondale, I’ll be jotting down my emotions during every game I attend. While others in the press box are typing who scored and how the play transpired, I’ll be adding slightly more emotional depth to specific things happening during the game.

I took my first shot at this during a 6-0 victory against Colorado on November 11. Here are my notes:

First game of the season for me. Very cognizant of taking in every moment and experience I can at the Coliseum. I walked the corridor before the game as I always do to start a season. The colors are so vibrant in the halls. The bright orange with the white and blue accented stripes are brilliant. Seriously, who has better colors?

The team skated out onto the ice, not unlike any regular game, but I was immediately emotional. I mean goose bumps and tears to my eyes. I could see and feel my childhood flashing before my eyes. It had something to do with the music, which was actually more on the sad side. Historic tones, if that makes sense. I’ve been coming to Islanders games for 23 years – since my dad and uncle took me to my first game in 1991 – it was against the Flyers and we sat somewhere near section 335. It all just hit me though as the team came out. They’re only going to come out of that tunnel so much more.

At 18:27 the Isles scored their first goal of the game off a shot from Nick Leddy, a new player acquired in a trade from Chicago, who will learn all about the noise that can be generated in the old barn. Get ready, Nick, it’s glorious. They took immediate control. Then it happened again at 14:39 – as I wrote this – the Islanders went up 2-0 on a power play goal by Anders Lee.

New to the Coliseum is the “yes, yes, yes” chant after a goal. I’m on the fence about this. It adds nothing to the Coliseum’s legacy or lore, but it caught on pretty quickly. It’s inspired by WWE wrestler Daniel Bryan’s “Yes! Movement”. Whatever makes the fans happy, I guess.

I have this perception that the Islanders are not supposed to be this good. My mind is trying to tell me this is a different team in Islanders jerseys. They’re fast, physical, the goalie is good, they can score, they have stars, and they are a real team with a destiny for a change. But it’s early yet in the season and a lot can happen.

chris vaccaro

Chris R. Vaccaro is a journalist, author and professor from Long Island. Vaccaro, who serves as Editor-in-Chief of The Topps Company's digital division, is an adjunct journalism professor at Hofstra University, the President of the Press Club of Long Island and has written five books about Long Island sports history.