Hit Me with Your Best Shot

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Being the little sister of two brothers, I got thrown around a lot whenever I insinuated myself into one of their games. I ate the dirt in tackle football and was banged up in basketball. The most ridiculous position I played, given that I was ten and slight, was goalie for their street hockey games. I was a tomboy through elementary school and averse to skirts and hairbrushes, so I was happy to snap on a mask and deflect the pucks that flew toward my head like tiny torpedoes. More blissful still was when my brother Steve and our family friend Mark took me to the “Fabulous” Forum in Inglewood to see the pros.

Older than us by a few years, Mark was generous with his car and his dough and treated us to the occasional Kings game. The experience was exotic. The Forum was far from my home in North Hollywood and stood out like a lonely Roman monument. Inside, it was frosty cold no matter how hot the day. And it was loud, so loud. As for those bulky boys on the ice? They were fast, tough—and cute. It was 1979, the perfect moment to become a Kings fan. The Triple Crown Line of Marcel Dionne, Charlie Simmer, and Dave Taylor—one of the league’s most indomitable offensive lines—had just found its stride. Dionne was a squat Canadian center with a squished-up nose; Simmer, the left-winger, had a foxy mustache and dimples; Taylor, at right wing, wore his feathered hair with a middle part, just like my bro.

I donned my purple and gold Dionne jersey for games. We shared binoculars; for Steve and Mark the best action took place in the owner’s box. As Paul Brownfield writes in his piece on the Kings in our December issue, owner Jerry Buss (aka “Dr. Buss”) was a playboy, and his box usually overflowed with hotties. During one game, I was sent on a mission to get his autograph. I headed down the stairs and across the long landing toward Dr. Buss. This was before owners had glassed-in lairs. Dr. Buss sat about a third of the way up on one end of the Forum, buttressed by a bevy of tall blonds and brunets. He had a shiny silver comb-over and a gleaming white smile that said “money.” Maybe he was taken with my spunk, because as soon as I held up a program for him to sign, he invited me to watch the game with his posse. I waved to Steve and Mark from my new seat. They were ogling the scene through their binoculars and no doubt had lost their breath at my good fortune.

When the Kings won their second Stanley Cup in three years this past June, I was cheering from a decidedly less rarefied seat: my couch. I ended up a couple of feet in the air when Alec Martinez fired the winning shot in double overtime. My husband looked at me as if I were a maniac—I usually save such moves for a deserved win during the Tony Awards. But he gets it. Once in the posse, always in the posse.