FanShot

Goodbye letter to Mellon Arena

5

The letter below was written by Chris DeVivo, Director of Media Technology for the Pittsburgh Penguins. Funeral For A Friend Thursday, May 13, 2010 Dear Mellon Arena, While these next few words pain me to write, please understand that I do it with the utmost respect and admiration: you're dead to me. I know that sounds harsh, but really that's the way it has to be. We've been friends for a long, long, time. I'd call you my home away from home these last 11 years, but to be honest we both know that I probably spent more time under your roof than I did at my own house. We've been through a lot together, and you'll always hold a special place in my heart. But this is goodbye. It makes you no less special and the memories will not be diminished. But it's time to move on. I know every nook and cranny there is to know under that big tin dome. I think you could blindfold me, drop me in a random spot, and I'd know immediately where I was. I know all the shortcuts. I can get from the control room to the loading area in under 60 seconds. Three months ago, I completed my personal goal of stepping into every single one of your rooms. How many people can say they know you like that? But let's be honest, we've grown pretty tired of each other. You having to bend and stretch in every which way to accommodate our needs. In turn, you went out of your way to guarantee that every new thing we tried to do was a complete pain in the ass to pull off. Fair is fair. But these aren't the memories I'll take with me. Instead, I'll remember the surreal feeling of the five overtime Philly game. Watching from the spotlight position and sneaking cigarettes in between overtime periods. I'll remember the energy of the crowd when Mario Lemieux took the ice for pre-game warmup in his comeback game. Watching the opening faceoff not believing it was real, and then the pure elation of his first goal of the un-retirement. I'll never forget watching Martin Straka steal the puck off of Gonch in OT and then score the game winner. It was and remains my only demonstrative reaction to a goal while I was out in the crowd. I'll remember the late nights. How could I forget them? On some nights working until the morning cleaning crew came in, with a group of dedicated people who became more like family to me than co-workers. You know who you are. I will remember the look on Max Talbots face as he gave a stick salute to the crowd after losing to Detroit in the finals. Without saying it, he said "I'm sorry" to everyone in the building. It was very close to the look he had on his face tonight. It's things like that that make me proud to be a part of this organization. The puck dropping out of the sky vs. Buffalo, Jiri Slegr's game winner vs Montreal years ago, Jags scoring while he was sliding across the ice vs. the Flyers. The big screen. Kelly Buchburger waving to the 29'er in the press box after finally scoring a goal. The banner raising - both the one I attended as a fan on that bittersweet night 19 years ago and the one I took part in 8 months ago. I take these and a thousand other memories with me. Under your roof, I have grown as a person and as a professional. I have watched friends come and go. I have been elated, heartbroken, angry, optimistic, overjoyed, and every other emotion you can feel. I've done things that I didn't think I could do. You've been a big part of my life. Which is exactly why I hope you meet the wrecking ball, my friend. You deserve it. And not in a bad way. I'm not taking sides in what happens to you, I'm just saying to you that for me, when that clock hit 0:0 tonight, that's when it ended. If you become a cheap facsimile of yourself, I want no part of it. What happened inside the walls are what's important, not the walls themselves. I'm moving on. In my heart, it will always be Mike Lange saying "Here's Lemieux on a breakaway..." It will be Vince Lascheid playing the organ. It will be John Barbero saying "Mario Lemyoooooooooooooooooooooo" It will be a screaming ocean of 17,000 towels churning in a frenzy. And it will be a memory. Goodbye, old friend.

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