Best of times, hairiest of times
I’m remembering again just how much I love April. First, cherry blossoms. They’re pink trees and never cease to make me feel like I’m somewhere cool and tropical. Secondly, I love the little teases of sunshine that are starting to break through the endless rain, getting me all jazzed up for the summer. I fell asleep last night planning how to make our little back-patio more inviting with flowers and maybe some updated patio furniture.
Thirdly, and here is the big one, it is the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs. I just got chills writing that. And I’m not exaggerating for dramatic effect.
I actually kind of hate most team sports. Football, baseball, basketball – won’t watch them, can’t even handle them on TV as background noise. But hockey doesn’t really count as a ‘sport’ in my eyes. In both Finland and Canada, hockey occupies a whole other realm: it is a national concern, similar to elections or the health care system.* I still struggle to think of a more thrilling moment than when Canada won Olympic gold in Vancouver with an overtime goal against the US. I believe the entire country screamed at the same time. Did you hear us?
Outside of the Olympics, I’m a one-team fan – I only have eyes for the Canucks. I can’t honestly say I appreciate the game for the game itself. Once the Canucks are out, I’m out. Probably after crying a bit. The other teams only enter into my cross-hairs when we are playing against them and they immediately come to personify all that is evil in the world.
My problem, as you may have already gathered, is that I take it all a bit too seriously. Perhaps because I haven’t played and watched a lot of sports in my life I’m not so used to the give and take involved, so when I watch hockey I kind of freak out.
In the play-offs it reaches a whole new level. When I watch a game, I alternate between rocking back and forth while hugging my knees, flailing around screaming obscenities, and whimpering helplessly in the corner, daring only to take quick peeks at the screen. Again, not exaggerating – just ask John. I think he enjoys watching my ridiculous show of uncontrolled emotion just as much as the hockey game.
So obviously, I want the Canucks to go as far as possible in the play-offs. But I do have one conflicting interest: my husband disappearing further and further under an impenetrable barbed barrier of hair with each and every game they win.
John grows a play-off beard and it’s a scary display; he has a five-o’clock shadow before he is actually done shaving. Last year, when the Canucks only made it to the second round he already looked like a lumberjack – and that was less than a month of growth. The Canucks are seriously kicking ass this year and we have high hopes that they will go far, which means his beard could be housing orphaned birds by the time we are anywhere near the finals.
Well I can only hope. I will totally exchange my cute husband for a burly lumberjack if it means the Canucks are winning.
*Sometimes more important than elections: Canada is in the middle of a federal election right now and actually bumped a leader’s debate planned for Thursday for a hockey game.