Boston’s first Stanley Cup parade in 39 years was going to take place on Saturday, June 18, three days after the team celebrated on the ice in Vancouver. It was as definitive a “clear your calendar”-type event as it will ever be. On the morning of C-day, we got up early, loaded up with a hearty breakfast, filled the caffeine meter, and made sure we went to the bathroom before heading down to the T. Then we made the unfortunate newbie mistake of coming out at Park Street station. We found ourselves shoulder-to-shoulder with what seemed like half the population of Somerville. We tried to make headway for about 20 minutes, going the whole of 30 feet, before deciding that the effort would ultimately be futile. We stopped in our tracks, which didn’t take much effort at all, and found a spot on the steps of the Cathedral Church of St. Paul. Despite the view being obstructed by a small kiosk and a tree, it was quite pleasant. Everyone was understandably less than thrilled about being packed together like sardines, but the mood was predictably upbeat, laced with an undercurrent of nervous energy that was almost palpable. After all, who wouldn’t want to be a part of the biggest celebration in Boston history?
The crowd was fraught with anticipation. Someone yelled out, “They just left the Gahden”. Oohs and aahs went up several times, but they were false alarms. Finally we heard a distant cheer. It got louder as it came rolling down Tremont Street and became deafening as the first Duck Boat floated into view. One by one the boats passed in front of us. Chara and Thomas were near the front, raising their arms and giving the thumbs up. The adoring crowd returned the favor. Then inevitably someone—or perhaps many simultaneously—started the “Let’s go Bruins” chant. The chant was immediately picked up by everyone else who was not already screaming at the top of their voice. The chant reached a crescendo, reverberating off the venerable facades that line Tremont Street. It was as exhilarating as it ever was in the Garden. Life is good as a Bruins fan today.