Race for the Cup

Blog No. 127

I am a lazy man. People who know me, know that fact. I’ve never tried to hide it, and while I’ve made an effort to change it, I am still firmly on the lazy side of the coin. I have lots of work, writing, and general life tasks ongoing at all times. I sometimes get into a good place and make headway through the stream of obligations, but more often than not, I am swayed by the distractions set along the riverbank. TV and Movies are big ones, but over the years, video games has joined the list. At the drop of a hat I’ll shirk my duties and watch a show I’ve seen a hundred times, or play a game (that I will inevitably quit in minutes and spend time looking for another game to play instead). I’m not alone in my procrastination, a whole culture as risen up around the concept (tying into hating Mondays and quoting TV for laughs). I am but one of the many disciples of sloth. I’m trying though. This blog is an example. I may be forever behind on my writing, but I’m doing it. The list of things to get done (populated by laundry, finish the basement, wash the car, and mow the lawn, is at a low I haven’t seen since I was in high school (and didn’t even write a list). Something is getting in my way though. It’s sinister and keeps me up late at night. It’s the NHL playoffs.

I played hockey as a kid. I was never any good, but I enjoyed it. I spent my winters from somewhere around 8 to 16 dragging my parents from rink to rink, stinking up the car, and growing out of expensive equipment. I have older brothers, so my parents weren’t new to the chore. Luckily for them, I did get some hand-me-down pads, but the cost is frighteningly real. Because I am the youngest, I spent a lot of my time at arenas even before I started to play. It was a bib part of my young life and I have some vivid memories of my time running around the rink and bugging my parents to buy me nachos or give me a quarter for the arcade machines. Even though I wasn’t very good at the game, I really enjoyed my time in hockey (both being dragged around to rinks for my brother’s games and playing myself). I even spent a number of years coaching in the same league where I played. Like many young Canadians, hockey was a big part of my childhood.

While I happily (mostly) played as a kid, my experience watching hockey differs from a lot of other young fans. I remember kids at school memorizing players and stats, begging their parents to let them stay up late to watch games. I would watch the occasional game with my brother, sometimes by myself, but never to the same degree as my peers. Often times Hockey Night in Canada would be the backdrop to an evening of mini-hockey (played with small plastic sticks) or some invented game by the two of us. It was all a lot of fun, but watching the game was never a priority for me. It helped when I had a team to root for. Because most of my hockey watching experience was with my bro, I started to like his chosen team, the Calgary Flames.

I’m still a fan of the Flames, but I have yet to be a sports watching guy who memorized players or stats. I know some of the players from the games I catch, but, while my brother will spend a night watching whatever games are on, I’ll pass even on Flames games if I’m not in the mood. The playoffs is something entirely different thing, especially if your team makes the cut (and even more especially when they are the underdogs). I love the watching the playoffs. The intensity is epic and the pace furious. There are several games on every night and, while my team plays on alternating nights) the hockey is so good, I find I watch games I’m not invested in at all.

So here, during the playoffs, I have yet another distraction. This one looms daily, drags me into the late night, and supersedes all my other plans (writing and all). But it’s the playoffs! Every game counts and each one only happens now. They will peter out as the pool of teams thins, and eventually come to a climactic end. I’ll eventually lose interest (especially if my team falters and gets eliminated), but for now it’s exciting and I need to watch. No trophy in sports is as glorious as the Stanley Cup. My team is a game away from winning their first round! What’s more important than that – writing?

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