Living Loudly

Hockey

I realized last night as I was looking at hockey stats for a team I could care less about that I have become very obsessed with the sport. Then I realized why…

For those that know me, they believe I have suddenly become a super geek fan of hockey. They’ve wondered what the hell? Hockey? Huh? You like a sport?

I do. I like two. Figure skating and hockey.

First, a little background, I first developed my love for hockey and the Red Wings because of a guy I met in 2002. I learned everything I could at the time but only with half a heart. I just wanted to be knowledgeable when it came to discussing the games and I wanted to be able to hold my own when it came talking the talk. Nothing ever became of that guy, but my love for hockey developed. I fell for hockey hook, line, and sinker. I didn’t talk about hockey with friends though. I wasn’t even sure I had friends who liked hockey. My enjoyment in watching the game was my own. I didn’t really follow the sport for a season or two as my life grew busy. I couldn’t have told you who was on the current roster anyway so if the game was on and I was near a TV, I’d watch it. If not, no big deal.

Then last season during the chase for the Stanley Cup, I discovered this little team called New York Rangers via their goalie Henrik Lundqvist. He was doing a post-game interview and I was like who the hell is that? I’m not going to lie, he’s hot and easy on the eyes even if he was a hot sweaty mess. I totally developed a big ol’ stinking crush on him. If you don’t know who I’m talking about, Google him. If you’re disappointed, you need to get your eyes checked. Hello Rangers, meet your biggest fan…me. I had decided I wanted to have a team I could pull for that didn’t involve my past. (Don’t fret, I’m still a Red Wings fan.) So I threw myself back into hockey. The Red Wings were playing in the playoffs and so was my new favorite team the Rangers. I watched other teams play and respected their players for their skills. I truly enjoy watching the Caps play because Ovechkin is a bullet on the ice. I rediscovered why I loved the sport. It’s fast. It’s brutal. It’s honest.

I kept up with the sport in the 2009 off season. I knew when the pre-season was starting and had it marked on my calendar. I even counted the days and had the schedules for both the Red Wings & the Rangers in my BlackBerry. I knew who was who and still found myself getting the right and left wing players confused. I also started going back to ECHL games. I’ve always gone to see the Charlotte Checkers. More when Holly’s husband was playing and assistant coaching for them and less when work got crazy busy and this thing called life happened. I would never make time to go and would always have an excuse on why I couldn’t go, but by chance, I got a pair of tickets to the 1st home game for the Checkers and I realized how much I do enjoy the sport on any level and made a promise to myself to go to every game I could. I’ve only missed 3 this season.

I’m pretty proud of that fact because I made time for something I wanted to do that didn’t involve work, going to a concert, or writing. For about 90 minutes, I can get lost in watching grown men fight over vulcanized rubber with wooden sticks as they ice skate. Besides, there’s nothing better than the sound of skates gliding over ice. It’s also one of the reasons I love figure skating in any form and yes, when the Winter Olympics come around, I’m happy as a clam in sand.

I realized that during the month of December, I became maybe overly obsessed with the sport. I even read the NHL rule book for hockey. It’s not easy reading. It might as well have been instructions on how to build a nuclear bomb written in Sanskrit. I had more questions than I had answers, but I read the whole damn thing in one night and despite the many questions I had, I did learn a few things about the sport that I didn’t know.

As I had previously said from the beginning of this blog, last night, as I was looking up stats for neither of my favorite NHL teams or ECHL team, I realized why I had a sudden obsession for stats and standings.

I was refocusing my thoughts from one subject to another. And that subject was the death of my mom. Reading hockey stats, standings, headlines, bios, rule books, watching games on tv or even in person, etc was taking my mind off of her. I didn’t have to deal with the creeping reality that she wasn’t alive anymore. I didn’t have to face the edging darkness that I was feeling take over my soul. I didn’t have to believe anything other than what was on paper and that was stats or the standings I was looking at.

I could have easily let the depression and sadness I felt take over me. My mind has been in dark places before and it’s not a nice place to be. It’s not a place I ever want to go back either. I struggled very hard in my early twenties to get out of depression without drugs and therapy, if it thinks I’m going back, then it’s going to have to take me kicking and screaming.

I made a confession to my boss today that I was worried about my new found obsession and told him why I was doing it and he said I wasn’t drinking or doing drugs which was good. He said most of all, it made me happy.

And I realized, it did make me happy. I can’t quote scripture but I’d say I’m well versed in several things and that’s music, figure skating, and hockey. So if you wanted the stats on Marian Gaborik for his 1st season with the Rangers, then I could tell you that information. (I’m assuming you might be thinking who? what? and so on…here are his stats as of 8:19 pm tonight: 27 goals, 25 assists and 52 points. He’s beating Ovechkin by 2 points. And as for Mr. Lundqvist, he’s starting his 16th straight game in the net tonight against the Bruins). As for the Red Wings, they’re off tonight but play the Anaheim Ducks tomorrow and desperately need a win in my own opinion.

So, there it is. My nasty little obsession over hockey and hockey stats. I might have useless knowledge for the sport but I know it saved me for an all too familiar dark hole.

Thanks hockey! And one day, the day dreaming, hockey loving side of me, will own my own team…

Listening to “Life Short, Call Now” by Jimmy Buffett