Perhaps a sign that the Myles Files may be busier in the months ahead than I anticipated, as here I am bright and early writing a personal post. This could be because I am valiantly struggling to find ways to resist going back to bed in order to get back on a regular sleep schedule, or maybe I was just so moved by last night’s victory by the Montreal Canadiens that I had to blog about it.
Okay, so I think it’s the first one. However, that doesn’t mean that the second is a total fabrication: while it might surprise some people, I am most certainly a playoff hockey fan. What’s that, you might ask? Well, it’s someone who will occasionally glance at the box scores during the regular season, maybe take a look at a standings to see where his/her favourite team sits, and then watches slightly more closely as the Games Remaining column pops up. And then the playoffs start.
At that point, the playoff hockey fan shifts into full gear: the hat with the team logo, even though it is dirty and ratty, emerges from its winter sequester, a trip to the Sports section of news websites becomes a habit, etc. For me, the team is without question le Montreal Canadiens, for no reason other than that they were the most successful Canadian team in my formative years, which resulted in both my over-enthusiastic Elder and my over-impressionable self to fall into the spell of a Stanley Cup championship hockey team.
While we’ve both remained devoted playoff fans of the Habs (It makes for the occasional disappointing seasons, right Leafs fans?), I am certainly a different breed of hockey fan. You see, I’m not actually capable of watching the games. This might seem odd, considering the whole point of hockey should be watching it by all logic, but I literally can’t do it. If you ever want to find a way to paralyze my life (I’m revealing my kryptonite here, I must be insane), find a sports team I like and put them in a sudden death match like last night’s Game 7.
At that point, I am inconsolably stressed out.
The best point of evidence for this is when I spent the last ten minutes of Canada’s 2002 Olympic Gold Medal Hockey win upstairs with a pillow over my head incapable of handling the stress of it all. Stressful sporting events simply get to me: it’s probably the same reason I don’t like horror movies, not that they scare me but rather that they emulate the feeling I get when everything is on the line in hockey, or another sport that happens to prove meaningful to some part of me.
Last night, for example, I watched a movie (Lars and the Real Girl, I might review it later today when I get even more stir crazy), blogged about How I Met Your Mother, and then watched Dancing with the Stars (There was nothing else on, plus it’s shiny) until my periodical hand-shakingly suspenseful checks of the score showed a commanding 3-0 lead. Willing to take the risk, I turned to CBC in time to see the final five minutes (Which saw the Canadiens score two demoralizing final goals).
I actually really wish I had seen the rest of the game, expect that I really am not able to handle it. It was apparently quite exciting, and I probably would have been okay since Montreal was never in danger of losing. But, much as many of my other stigmas are (Allegedly) keeping me away from great things, so too have I missed a lot of exciting hockey in my attempts to avoid either crushing disappointment or sudden cardiac trauma.
It also simultaneously creates a distance from and a relationship with the hardcore fans – I can’t experience things in the same way they do, but I also can understand how their intense emotions can bubble to the surface in riotous celebration (Or, you know, torching Police cars – as the Elder notes, imagine if they’d lost). The result is a playoff hockey experience where it is more of an appreciation of the game and the people who love it, than itself a love relationship with the sport. Which sounds really weird, but what’re you going to do.
So go Habs! I may never watch more than a few minutes of your game at a time, checking the score while trying to keep myself occupied with other things to avoid being stressed out, but know that my heart is in the right place.