And now, a farewell letter to Jaromir Jagr, as written by our friend @pghsciencenerd. We don’t think you’ll be able to find a person more dedicated to Jagr than she is.
We need to talk. Let me introduce myself—I am perhaps one of your last remaining die-hard fans in Pittsburgh. Admittedly, I wanted nothing more than for you to sign here, let me touch your mullet, lift the Stanley Cup on Consol ice, and retire as a Pittsburgh Penguin. But now, after the dust has settled, for reasons beyond the preservation of my own dignity and sanity, I’m happy you made your decision to sign elsewhere.
Although I succumbed to the charms of your mullet, as did every self-respecting 12 year old girl in southwestern Pennsylvania in the early 1990s, I remain first and foremost a Penguins fan. When you signed with the Flyers, you might as well have been personally responsible for the closure of Chauncey’s, the door falling off of my 1975 Camaro, and every single closure of the Parkway East. Do you realize that had you signed here, I was fully prepared to dress in full hockey equipment and wave the Czech flag while standing on the median at the entrance to the Fort Pitt Tunnel? DEDICATION.
You see, Jaromir, yinzers live and die by our sports teams. When players we absolutely love sign with teams we hate, we take it personally. Pittsburghers are also notoriously fickle when it comes to you, and yes, you’re right, that is silly. I’m sure you can recall the boos that rained down upon you every time you touched the puck on Civic Arena ice as a Capital and as a Ranger.
I’m sure you realize that things will only be worse now that you are a Flyer. By default, all Penguins fans boo all Philadelphia Flyers—this is simply common knowledge. What you should also know that you are heading to a pretty tough town with an even tougher fan base. These are people whose standby insult is making offensive, immature comments about the sexuality of opposing players. Do you remember when they did that to you, Jaromir? I certainly do. The thing of it is, if the team slips up, they are blaming you. Full on assault; I hope you’re ready for it. We can discuss this matter later. For right now, I’ve been racking my brain on trying to understand why on earth you chose the Flyers, of all teams.
I realize that you felt that the Flyers could give you what no other team could—a chance to shape the team into something of your own creation. You want to give a team an identity, but this has already been done for the Penguins by other players.
First of all, Jaromir, I understand that you are a very intriguing yet strange person. Let’s recall several critical Jaromir moments that stick out in my memory:
1. You once explained that he missed practice due to “solidarity with Elian Gonzalez” (the little boy caught in a custody battle between his father in Cuba and his mother’s family in Florida);
2. The wearing of a little girl’s mask after a game instead of performing captainly duties;
3. Claiming that you decided to market his own brand of peanut butter because peanut butter made his groin feel better (unclear if you meant by eating it or applying it);
4. As a grown-ass man, telling Bill Clement “I don’t need a cook, I need my mom.”
STEP OFF GUYS. JAROMIR NEEDS HIS MOM.
(It’s OK Jaromir, as a third-generation Czechoslovak-American, I totally get this. It’s a little on the excessive side, but I’ll allow it.)
Don’t get me wrong; I absolutely adore you despite your quirkiness. Therein lies the reasons I believe explain your decision to not return to the Penguins. Simply put, I agree that the Flyers were the best team for you. Now, some may call me a dirty Jagr-loving mullet apologist, which is kind of true, but I can handle that. I’m pretty used to it by now. You see, I can understand why you didn’t want to return to the Penguins: you can’t shape this team’s identity like you can in Philadelphia.
Perhaps this is all a matter of us both being nostalgic; we want the same thing for ourselves. I wanted to see that mullet fly down the ice. I wanted to see that ridiculous goal salute.
I wanted to see you show up to games dressed like this.
OH YEAH, BABY.
In a way, you wanted all of the same things I did. However, the Penguins aren’t the team on which you can be that person again. You’ve done the right thing for yourself. While once upon a time, Pittsburgh and Planet JaromirMullet occupied the same spatial and temporal dimensions: a time of mullets, Camaros, acid-washed jeans, the scent of Drakkar Noir permeating throughout Donzi’s, and Starter jackets. You know what I mean. Somewhere along the line, Pittsburgh and Planet JaromirMullet drifted apart. Maybe it was the speeding tickets, the gambling, or the dying alive. Maybe we just didn’t belong together anymore, Jaromir. We split apart; Pittsburgh moved on for the better.
I think you’re trying to relive a little of the Planet JaromirMullet of the 1990s, and your choice of team reflects this. I know that many Pittsburghers think it’s about the money, but I disagree. It’s about shaping a team’s identity, being that number one player who defines the team. We already have that here, and I think that Pens fans can all agree that none of us would change a thing with Sid and Geno at the helm. Thus, Jaromir, I wish you all the best, even if it has to be while playing as a Flyer.
As a Penguins fan and as a Jagr fan, I find myself in a pretty tough position here, Jaromir. I never booed you when he played for the Rangers or Capitals (actually, I really liked you as a New York Ranger.) I probably won’t boo you just because you’re a Flyer. How am I going to feel when you score your first goal against the Penguins? Awful, Jaromir, just awful; because just as much as I want my Penguins to win, I also want you to do well. Now, I can’t promise you that I won’t throw Rivers Casino coupons at you, or avoid sliding you dollar bills through the glass, or even not sit behind the Flyers bench while dressed as a slot machine. In all honesty, you earned those. However, I probably will still wear your old jerseys to games, despite taking the risk of being accosted. As a female fan, I usually get cut a lot of breaks when it comes to this matter, and I hope my luck holds out.
Jaromir, I wish you all the best, and I hope that you would do the same for me. Your weirdo agent, Petr Svoboda, remarked that when this is all said and done, we’ll celebrate together. Well, he’s not invited to the celebration, because he’s a toolbag. You, however, are required to show up looking like this:
IT’S OKAY TO BRING YOUR DAD, ESPECIALLY IF HE’S WEARING A TIE MADE OF MONEY.
And when you’re ready to hang up the skates, even if all of Pittsburgh hates you, I’ll still be there. I might give you a very stern lecture, but I’ll be there. Oh, and if it’s possible, bring Petr Nedved. He looks like he knows how to have a good time.
PARTY ALL UP IN THIS BITCH
PS. Go Pens.