For those of us of a certain age, watching the Islanders renaissance has been a splendid reminder of what we had — what, sadly, we took for granted — all those many years ago. Long Islanders are parochial and proud of it. Billy Joel is one of us, always. Jerry Seinfeld? One of us. Billy Crystal? Eddie Burns?
One of us. Always.
That was the Isles of 1980-83. They not only made us proud, they made us champions. Islanders fans have other rooting interests in other sports, but the Isles were ours. Maybe it seems silly. Believe me, it was real.
The best part of this new Isles Mania is all the faces of folks under 45 years old. For them, this was a different franchise, cast adrift for years by lousy management and awful teams. Yet they stuck around. It was easy for guys like me: J.P. Parise scored his famous goal against the Rangers when I was 8. From then through college the Isles were a given.
“As a kid, I remember Pierre Turgeon getting clocked by Dale Hunter,” says Joe Taglia, 38, a coach and teacher at Syosset High School who lives in Merrick. “After that it’s been kind of … lean. To say the least.”
“This is so much sweeter,” says 42-year-old Neil McMahon of Lake Ronkonkoma, “after two decades of … well, not much.”
Islanders fans cheer on their team during the 2021 playoffs.Corey Sipkin…