Yup, it’s been some time since an entry, but I’ve got two good reasons—a busy time at work and the NHL. The latter has been especially all-consuming, as we’re almost done with the first round of the playoffs and my Montreal Canadiens (aka The Habs), have been exhausting of late. As of writing this, they’re heading into game 7 of their series with the Boston Bruins. They beat Boston eight straight times during the regular season, had a 3-2 series lead going into today’s game and lost in an exciting, action-packed 5-4 game.
It’s actually pretty amazing how exhausting it can be just to watch a sports game where you actually care about the outcome because the excitement is so high for that period of time. The NFL knows how to use this excitement well, keeping their seasons short and making sure fans are on their feet every Sunday, stocking up on team merchandise to celebrate each game…because every game is that important. When it comes to hockey, the 82 game season is really all about making it into the playoffs and then those best of seven playoff series become a “second season.” So not only do we cheer our teams for all these games, we’re also forced to realize it could all end really quickly if our team can’t win four games against a team they may have dominated in the regular season.
A lot of people probably think it’s stupid to get so worked up about sports since it’s just, well, sports and I can understand their perspective. “Stupid” is completely the wrong word, though the one I’ve heard most often, but when you look at the entirety of life, a sports team not winning a game seems rather meaningless. However, that doesn’t mean it’s not a natural human reaction given the joy we derive from these games and if kept in perspective, it seems like an entirely healthy escape to me. I could watch a movie and immerse myself in fiction. I could read a book and create a world in my mind. I could listen to music and surrender myself to the words & voice of another. Or, as I do, I could just spend a good two hours watching skilled athletes play a game for the glory of their adopted homes. I don’t see any empirical assessment that makes my choice any worse than the other choices. I’m not saying it’s better either—just that I believe it to be a valid, reasonable choice given my many options.
So, with that all in mind, I spent this evening watching my Habs lose and, I’ll admit it, being fairly pissed off when they lost. I didn’t yell or curse. I didn’t break anything or stomp around. I did, however, just feel really pissed off. It makes no sense because it’s just a game and supposed to be a nice diversion from reality. Everyone wants their team to win and 99% of will be disappointed, so I shouldn’t expect to be in that 1% each time the playoffs come around. In trying to understand this anger, in trying to rationalize my own response and find some peace, I discovered something else:
It’s really great to be pissed of by a hockey game.
No, really. If I’m able to spend two hours watching a game (on my Montreal Canadiens recliner—thanks Mom & Dad!), giving myself over to the passion of the game and ignore any other negative things in my life, that’s pretty good. If at the end of the game, all I really have to be angry about is the result of the game, well, that means I’ve got a pretty good life, eh?