My name is Paul Clemente and I am the newest staff member at A Very Barrie Colts Blog. I was lucky enough to fall in love with hockey in one of those scripted, beautiful moments. I remember the moment in time where I was in my grandfather's boat of a car stuck in traffic outside of Three River's stadium.
I won Pirate tickets from my school for being a good student (?) and I always asked my grandfather to take me since he was one of the truest Pittsburgher I knew of. He loved all the teams, especially baseball. I don't remember much about the game but I do remember getting a vintage Orioles hat for no other reason of me liking the silly design.
When I was lucky enough to be in downtown Pittsburgh, I loved to stare up into the sky and look at how the buildings cut into the night sky with its glowing accents. I did, however, notice that there was a lot more people walking around town that usual. People were weaving through the metal river of monoxide spewing cars screaming and celebrating. I do remember the Pirates winning (4-2 vs Phillies) but this was different.
This mania that surrounded my grandpa's car was confusing so I asked, "What's going on?".
My grandpa turned up the radio and, like a cheesy cable movie, Mike Lange belted out "The Stanley Cup has come to the city of Pittsburgh!" Through contextual logic I learned that our team in Pittsburgh won hockey's coveted championship.
I then rhetorically asked, "Does this mean we're the best?" fully knowing what the answer was.
"Yes." he replied, half-distracted, with the surreal moment of being the in the heart of the celebration.
I remember leaving the warm embrace of the downtown area to climb the watchful hills of Mt. Washington to end the day. I was disappointed that I missed the journey and could not fully comprehend the happiness everyone else shared. It was then I became a hockey fan for life. I swore to myself that I would learn everything I could about the team. I wanted to memorize every player, every stat, and every number.
It's almost unfathomable that moment was 25 years ago. I am just as much a fan as that 12-year-old boy was. I've seen ups and downs of the Penguins franchise and I've seen a seismic change to the entire league as well. I can only hope that I can transfer a small fraction of that passion to this blog and that it translates to some material you all can enjoy.
I want to thank Ryan Noble for letting me share his passion with me.
Here is what I've done on the internet:
2010 - construXnunchuX:
In 2010, I founded construXnunchuX with my brother +Ian Insect to keep a digital journal of our childhood stories and a place to spew creativity. We focused on silliness and it transformed into high-concept anti-comedy after a few months of clumsy writing. It was after a year, that I found Ryan Noble on Twitter and we bonded over cats and violent Japanese movies. We invited him on with us and our friendship matured into love and respect for one another.
2013 - PensInitiative:
In 2013, I co-founded PensInitiative with Damian Romano from Pens Universe. My goal was to bring all of my friends together to write for the Penguins. We had a large staff and everyone had one small job to do. It was this concept that made us become the Penguin's #1 independent fan blog. It continues to operate today.
2016 - Nameless Comedy:
At the beginning of the year, I wanted to try performing something on stage. I joined the Nameless Comedy improv group in my hometown of Jamestown, NY. I found myself very comfortable on stage and enjoyed performing in front of people. This year I performed for Tatsu-Con, Jamestown's Lucy Comedy Festival, and Blurrie-Con.
Note from Ryan:
Paul is one of the most talented humans I have ever known. It was him who got me into blogging when he allowed me to join Construx Nunchux in 2011. Over that time, we really connected and I can honestly say that he is my best friend. Over the years, we have worked together at CXNX, Pens Initiative for a while before I eventually left to focus on this blog and now, here.
Paul also taught me how to use photoshop. So, all those players with cat heads and other silly photoshops we have on the site are basically his fault. Those skills he passed to me also allowed me to develop the ability to do my own design for this blog. You could say that without Paul, there might not be A Very Barrie Colts Blog.
I have tried to get Paul on the team for a while, and I am so excited to have him on the team. He is a very smart hockey fan with a lot of passion. He, in my opinion, is one of the best hockey writers out there and his being a part of this blog only adds credibility to him.
Thank you for joining us, Paul! Please embrace him and welcome him to the team!