Friday, October 5, 2012
Healing Through Hockey My Ass
We guys love you ladies for all the beautiful softening touches you bring to life. We even appreciate the aesthetic value of those throw pillows you strategically place wherever we want to sit or lay our bodies down. Really, we do. However, if a man accompanies you to the ballet, he should not expect to inhale beer, swallow hot dogs without chewing, or organize an audience wave. Likewise, hockey isn't Ice Castles; it's ice wrastles.
The correct approach to a hockey game for a man or a woman is to put on a military-gray sweatshirt or Scotch-plaid flannel that hasn't been washed lately and puts off a musky scent to the opposite gender but a feral warning to breeding competitors. Don't golf clap. Feel free to holler or pull hair. If you write about the event for CNN, call it hockey reportage not hockey reflections.
I fondly remember a great hockey match I watched in Chicago. The Saint Louis Blues were playing the hometown Blackhawks. There were no teams called the London White Doves or Manhattan Easy Listeners. There was almost as much hugging as on an Oprah show, but there was also back slapping that could turn a just-swallowed bratwurst into an intercontinental ballistic missile. Communion beer was served regularly to the worshipers by leggy high priestesses of the tattoo and navel-ring cult.
On the Chicago elevated train home in the middle of the night, seating was still divided into two teams. Not Blues and Blackhawks. Crips and Bloods. The brothas and I had a wonderful time of fellowship, until I asked them for the sistas' phone numbers. Suddenly, I was relegated to the back of the train, where I sat mumbling under my breath about Rosa Parks and humming We Shall Overcome.
Walked back to my hotel, arriving frozen and totally wasted at sunrise. That was a true hockey night. I guess you could say it offered a certain type of healing to a wild animal spirit trapped in a dull urban jungle, but not the kind Anderson Cooper would appreciate.