пятница, 27 июня 2008 г.

Hockey isn't a game, it's a way of life

Earthquake? Ha! Some seismologists.

That "trembling" was just me last Thursday, celebrating a Detroit Red Wings playoff goal. They scored. I jumped. The earth shook. Richter scale read 2.1.

And nobody felt it.

Well, maybe my neighbor did. Maybe that's why she walked down the hall to my door,

concerned and worried about the vibration that just occurred.

Knock, knock.

"Everything ... umm ... OK, in there?" she says.

"OK?" I reply in my slight Northern accent. "Everything is great! It's the playoffs!"


"You know, playoff hockey?"

"Playoff hackey sack??"

"No. Hockey. HOC ..."

I stop. My head rotates toward the TV. And there was Red Wings superstars Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, zipping across the blue line. Pass. Pass. Pass. Shot.


I jump again. Her voice disappears.

And I haven't seen her since.

Hey. Look. If you haven't heard already, I descend from a land they call "Hockeytown," where, when April rolls around, responsibilities include

therapeutic sports talk radio, Internet blogging, therapeutic "beverages," watching hockey, watching more hockey, and

hoping to God that this is the year our beloved Red Wings bring home another Stanley Cup.

Work is irrelevant. Same goes with family. It's Red Wings! Red Wings! Red Wings!

And nothing else matters.

So, sitting here, hundreds and thousands miles away from The Motor City, do you realize how tough it is to follow this team?

I mean, what's with these time zones? Which wise guy developed this idea? Why does 7 p.m. EST have to be 4 p.m. PST?

I don't get it. Maybe I never will. But if sunlight is the reason for this, well, I still don't get it. It leaves me wondering, why can't local high schools play baseball in the dark? Why can't there be glow-in-the-dark golf? Late-night track? Twilight

tennis? There are stadium lights, right? Use them!

And why can't athletic directors call The Observer and say, "Hey, are the Wings playing today? If so, we'll accommodate your schedule."

OK. That's pushing it. But something has to be done about Mother Nature, and this constant, painful teasing.

Consider last week: It was raining in La Grande, and here I was, driving toward a Union High track meet, hoping for cancelation.

But here came Union. And here came sunshine. And here came dry roads.

Great. Just great. So now, this means, the Wings and Colorado Avalanche would begin second-period action, and I would be covering track, rather than watching hockey.

So I go to the source.

"OK, Mother-ruining Nature, where's the rain out here? I say, driving aggressively.

"This isn't Hockeytown," she whispers back.

"Yeah, but I wanna watch ..."

"Go buy TIVO."


I swerve into the oncoming lane, barely missing a semi-truck. He honks his horn. He yells obscenities. I think he may have called the police.

But I'm in my own world, thinking about pucks, sticks, skates and nets, wondering if the Wings will hold that first-period lead that I will now miss.

So here I am -- not in front of the TV -- covering track against my will. Running shoes looked like skates. Hurdle posts looked like goal posts. Bobcat red looked like red hockey jerseys.

Then a nice gentleman approaches.

"Do you have results?" he says.

"First period: Wings 3, Avalanche 1," I say.

He walks away.

Hey. I really cannot explain where this passion came from. Maybe it's from my upbringing. Maybe it's in my genes.

Or, maybe I'm just a few fries short of a happy meal, if you catch my drift.

But, once again, nothing else matters at this time of year. Work? Nuh-uh. Family? Back of the line. It's all about hockey. Only hockey.

And that leaves me asking for help these next two months.

A VCR would be nice. TIVO would be better. A paid flight back to Detroit -- along with full salary -- would be fantastic.

But all that is probably a pipe dream. Plus, it's a little selfish. And a little outrageous. So I'll just stick to hoping and praying for inclement weather when the Wings are playing.

Rain is good. Snow is better.

A two-month monsoon would be just splendid.

"Can you help me out today," I ask Mother Nature.

"I'm bringing thunderstorms," she whispers.

"Really?!? Does that mean I can watch the Wings game?!?"

"No," she laughs. "Get back to work."

She must be an Avalanche fan.

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