By which I mean our hockey team, now bound for the championship finals. In Vancouver this spring, vegan yoga instructors are hockey fans, as are professors of Patristic theology, gay-rights activists, sushi chefs, orchid breeders, and cloth-capped hipsters. I sort of am too; it’s not a terrible condition. I even went to a game, my first in years.
But they won’t let you take a good camera in, so this is through a thick layer of acrylic with a point-n-shoot.
If it looks like I’m right there next to the players, I was. This was the last regular-season game of the season that meant anything (clinching the President’s Trophy); I snagged two seats on Craiglist, in Row 2 right beside the face-off circle to the goalie’s right. One thing they don’t tell you is that the boards, and the acrylic shield on top of them, are rather loosely fastened in; so that every time the players hit them there’s this tremendous crashing and smashing effect.
The price is ludicrous, but it’s pretty good entertainment.
On Watching Sports · No, it doesn’t mean anything, really. Yes, the values are questionable and the concentration of wealth is obscene. But those things are hard to avoid unless you’re going to be ruthless about avoiding anything remotely popular.
I’m a sucker for sports because of the element of surprise; the only thing on TV where the end isn’t already scripted when the show starts. And in particular the CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada is just really well-done.
I’ll cheerfully sit down and watch a game, most sports included, when I want passive entertainment, but normally manage to avoid being sucked into fandom.
In fact, the last time I got really engaged with the performance of a sports team was the early-1990’s Toronto Blue Jays; I was living nearby then and, as on this occasion, got pulled along with the bandwagon.
The Team · I should probably avoid diving deep on the virtues and blemishes of this particular hockey team, because few readers will care; and for those who do, there’s no shortage of good writing on the subject. I will just say that the Canucks are fast and you have to like that. Also, from the having-been-close perspective, that Kesler, in full flight on the attack, is awe-inspiring; I’m profoundly glad I’m not trying to play defence against him.
And here’s what I really think (and I felt this about last year’s Olympics, too): Something that brings so much happiness to so many people can’t be bad.
Take in the first minute of this motionless video clip and see if you agree. I can testify that it sounds the same in my neighborhood on those occasions; I find it impossible to be unmoved.