The NY Rangers are presently in the professional-hockey finals, pursuing the Stanley Cup against the LA Kings. The last time for the former was two decades ago, the latter in 2012. Buried memories of a dastardly year so profound for NY sports fans, and most painstaking for me in general, burst forth vividly in living color through the foggy annals of my bedeviled brain. By the way, be careful when typing the word “annal” and not to misspell it with using only one “n.”
Late spring of 1994 had the Rangers facing the Vancouver Canucks in the Cup finals, for which NY won the championship 4-3. The Knicks faced the Houston Rockets in the NBA finals that year, but fell to the latter, 4-3.
Nicole Brown and her friend Ronald Goldman were found murdered on June 12, 1994. O. J. Simpson was charged with murdering his ex-wife and her friend. When the former running back failed to give himself in to police, a slow-speed chase developed that included O. J. as a passenger in a Ford Bronco, driven by his old team mate from the Buffalo Bills and the ’49ers, A. Cowlings. The absurd footage of this bizarre-fleeing scenario interrupted Game Five of the ’94 NBA playoffs that evening. I witnessed the entire ordeal in a bar on the boardwalk at Seaside Heights, NJ, having hobbled there with a cane.
The ensuing surrealistic scenes shown on the TV screens looked as if everything was happening in slow-motion. For 50 miles on a stretch down Interstate 405 in Los Angeles, the accused murderer was followed closely by a row of cop cars. All appeared as if they were meandering leisurely in a grand parade, tooling on the four-lane highway. Tremendous hoards of people lined up along the shoulders and medians of the roadway to observe and cheer this outrageous motorcade. The uncharacteristic folly ended when the then-actor and sports commentator returned home, where he was arrested with Cowlings. Simpson was acquitted of the murder charges in October 1995. Cowling’s felony charges for aiding a fugitive were dropped due to lack of evidence.
Not as devastating as it must have been for O. J. Simpson—not to mention Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman—nor as rewarding as it was for the Rangers, who took home the Cup; and neither as disappointing as it was to the Knicks for losing their championship series that year, 1994 took a tremendous toll on yours truly that effected me for the rest of my life.
To be continued…