Hockey is back on TV starting tonight and, yes, I will be watching. My mom is slightly repulsed that I do enjoy this demon sport that seduces her husband away from her right at dinnertime for a half of the year. She has alluded that I am a traitor to my gender. I have to admit I wasn’t always a hockey fan and it did not come easily to me. It was more a function of necessity as back in the day it was either sitting in the living room, at every social gathering, with the guys (including my boyfriend) watching hockey or sitting in the kitchen with the wives listening to them talk about what assholes their husbands are and how Little Bobby is a freakin’ genius. I made my escape from wifely hell into the living room and slowly, slowly hockey started making sense to me.
A while ago my dad and I actually went to a hockey game to do some male bonding over beers and rubber nachos. It was a great night out but I have to admit that I was lost a lot of the time without the very informative commentator telling me what the hell was going on. Just when I would make out the name on the back of the jersey of the guy with the puck he would pass that bad boy and I would be back to square one. I found my attention wandering and some really excellent people watching commenced. Sport fanatics are a weird bunch with interesting outfits and face paint. Another time I went to a game with a friend and we got dirty looks for not participating in The Wave.
I don’t have the same focus on the screen as the guys do as I am not a hunter but a gatherer and can easily gossip with any or all who are willing to listen as well as write out my Christmas cards, plan for my weekend, cook a meal, play with the cat and eliminate world debt all the while cursing the refs and burping out loud.
Even now that I actually know what ‘offside’ means (even if I am not quick enough to know when it happens) and know vaguely who is on my local team (Go Canucks!) I still embarrass myself on a regular basis.
I often comment on how gross it is when the players spit and wonder why they can’t put a bucket behind the bench for discreet lugies. I have been known to pontificate on the finer points of each team’s outfits and hair-dos and facial hair. I fluctuate wildly between cheering on bloodthirsty fighting and berating individuals for being ‘mean’. I make up my own cute nicknames for players because I rarely remember the player’s names and mispronounce the ones I do know. I still ask stupid questions; the very same ones I ask every game because I don’t consider a dirty look or a frantic shushing hand gesture an adequate response. What is wrong with wondering who has the least teeth or why mullets are so prevalent?
But I love hockey because it is fast paced and thrilling as hell. The players are so young and emotionally invested in the game it is inspiring to watch them. I love that the game can turn in an instant. You can be behind and rally to kick ass at the very last second and you can lose a game the exactly same way. I love that it all takes place on ice causing amazing wipeouts and fantastic acrobatics. It is just so damned exciting!
So yes, I will be watching hockey tonight. And I will be watching America’s Next Top Model and doing my laundry at exactly the same time.