A situation in Canada that was a source of agony for countless Canadians (and upward of 37 American fans) was the NHL strike/lockout thingy in which millionaire owners were doing battle with millionaire players over money.
Lovers of the game were offering prayers, supplications, burnt offerings and redundant younger children for sacrifice in hopes that their passion would shortly be returned to them.
You see, this is Canada, and in the eyes of the cliché merchants Canada consists of nothing other than Mounties, a few stalwarts hanging onto vestigial connections with the monarch of another country, mountains, snow and more snow, francophones causing nothing but trouble for resident bigots, and young boys from the Prairies missing their front teeth.
Oh, and Hockey Night in Canada, arguably the only reason for CBC Television to actually continue pick the pockets of taxpayers, and justification for those of such consuming passion, if esthetic tastelessness, to stick team flags out of their car windows.
The National Hockey League is comprised of a handful of Canadian teams and about 4,723 American teams (some of them virtually in a tropical zone and far away from the minus temps of Saskatoon) despite limited US fandom which can only lead a body to assume there must be a lot of money in a business that calls for youngsters to choose ongoing dental work.
Hockey also led to the formation of another Canadian iconic business, Tim Hortons, a series of bistros that used to produce a decent donut and still produces coffee that comes closer to an old fashioned ‘cuppa joe’ than anything Starbuck’s could master. Tim Horton, you see, was a hockey player, in case you were wondering about the connection.
Anyway, the reason for this screed is that I am ‘not’ a hockey fan. That’s not due to lack of patriotism, but just because I’ve never been that interested in a game that involves a bunch of guys with sticks bashing one-anothers’ brains out.
I don’t know why I’m a hockey laggard. When I was growing up there was a belief that every Canadian kid wanted to become a hockey legend like Richard, Hull, Howe and so forth. I didn’t. Oddly enough I could ice skate quite adeptly, but I just never wanted to go in the direction of sitting in a drafty and chilly arena at 6 a.m. The term ‘zamboni’ held no magic for me.
Actually I do know why that happened and there are three reasons: 1) I’m wondrously inept in the old hand-eye coordination realm; 2)Otherwise nice guys who are friends become competitive assholes when they join a team of any kind; 3)The game bores me.
That last one I cannot even provide a reason for. I mean, I know it’s fast and exciting (as opposed to football, which is virtually comatose), but I never watch. As a spectator I love basketball, and I can borderline thrive on baseball, but never hockey.
My first wife’s family was hockey obsessed. Two of my mother-in-law’s sons played pro hockey, and one was even signed up by the Leafs before he shipped out overseas in World War Two – alas, never to return. So, Saturday night at their place, with the oldsters – dad and grandfather mainly – was hockey-hockey-hockey. For me, unless I was off making out with the daughter of the household, was a state of unspeakable boredom.
“Wow – look at that shot! Brilliant!” would be one such exclamation. All I could offer was: Oh, right, nothing.
So, when I heard that the strike was over I was left with mixed emotions in the realm of “oh, bother, now it’s starting again.” I guess I should be happy that the gaping maw of blind avarice has been sated amongst members of the millionaires’ club. Well, I am truly happy for those involved in the peripheral trades who were disregarded by all the boys with dollar signs in their eyes, but for me, not so much.
I liked watching to see what filler crap the CBC was forced to broadcast of a Saturday Night and relished the fact that excruciatingly distasteful Don Cherry was forced to scream obscenities into the night.