ST. LOUIS – Like many of the Blues fans at Bobby’s Place Hampton on Wednesday night, Wayne Failoni waited nearly 50 years to see his team take the Stanley Cup.
Like all of them, the wait was worth it.
“This is the most exciting event of my life beside the birth of my daughter, who’s calling me from Boston,” said Failoni, 69, of the Shaw neighborhood, trying to speak over the cacophony in the sports bar and grill, 2652 Hampton Avenue, in the moments after the Blues won. “It’s a wonderful event for the entire St. Louis region.”
Although Failoni’s daughter was calling from Boston, she remains a true-blue Blues fan. She’s an actress who lives in New York City and was in Boston to perform in the musical “Oklahoma.”
“She’s one of only two Blues fans in the entire cast,” he said.
Failoni’s friend Earl Salsman, 78, of Olivette, said the victory was worth the wait. He has rooted for the team since the beginning and was a season ticket holder for the first five to 10 years of its existence.
From not far away, Maryanne Dersch sent an Instant Message expressing her own joy at the moment.
“I’m so happy for all my friends and family who have bled blue. And for my city that was accused of not being a sports town by a certain football owner. This team gives everyone hope that no matter how bad things get, there’s hope,” wrote Dersch, 53, who lives in the Shaw neighborhood. “And Boston is the worst.”
Dersch poured out her love as a season ticket holder for the St. Louis Rams for the entire time they were here. When the Rams left, she turned to the Blues and was never spurned.
Dersch, who works with nonprofits on adoption and fundraising, said she really got excited when she filmed a public service announcement with the Blues promoting adoption.
“I got to go on the ice and meet the Blues and the staff,” she said. “It was so nice, and I became a fan after that.”
Dersch watches many games at Bobby’s, while her husband, Jon Schmuke, usually prefers to take them in at home. But for a game such as this, the only place to be was at a bar named for former Blues defenseman Bobby Plager. Along with everyone else in the sports bar and grill, Dersch and Schmuke both screamed and damaged eardrums when the game ended and the Stanley Cup was officially St. Louis’.
The place went wild when the Blues got the third goal and then crazy when they got the fourth goal that made it certain St. Louis would win. Although the Bruins got one goal, the final score of 4-1 meant sweet victory. Lovers kissed. It couldn’t get better.
“My marriage and kids were amazing, but I’ve waited longer for this! What a day!” Schmuke texted. Schmuke, 53, has been a Blues fan for 40 years. He’s seen “lots of early exits. Not this time.”
On a patio dampened by off-and-on rain, Mia Tucker, 22, was overwhelmed. “The feeling I have is unimaginable,” Tucker texted. “I am numb. I am truly speechless. This underdog team has overcome adversity and all the ‘You will never win.’ We have made history, and it will never be forgotten. I am proud of the Blues, win or lose. I will always bleed blue. Bring the cup home!”