Keep Calm and Carey On
Can I confess something that I really didn’t expect? I don’t miss the NHL nearly as much as I thought I would. Here we are, late November and watching the seconds tick ever closer to midnight on the 2012-2013 season’s doomsday clock, and I’m not in pain or agony over the whole thing. Some days, it feels like I don’t even care.
Now that’s not to say I don’t care at all. I still feel enough to be pissed off. I care at 6:30 on a Saturday night when I start wishing I had a game to put on to go with my beer. I’ll care in the spring when the first warm days start to roll in and it just feels like it should be playoff time, but it won’t be. I care when I check Twitter multiple times a day for updates on the lockout front. So, yeah, I care. I just don’t care a lot.
I can’t exactly put my finger on why I don’t care as much as expected; I just know that I don’t. It may have something to do with Montreal’s pitiful performance on the ice last season. Memories of frustration, confusion and downright embarrassment from the experience that was the Canadiens’ 2011-2012 season may have left me a little less wanting. If, say, this lockout had happened after the 2010-2011 season, of which one of my final memories was PK’s game tying goal in Game 7 against Boston (I forget what happened after that), then maybe my NHL void would feel a little more voidful. It has to be a factor.
Perhaps it is the fact that this is the second time the NHL has done this in very recent memory and so I’ve just kind of numbed myself to it this time. Seems like a possibility. Fool me once, etc.
Or maybe it’s just because it’s 2012, soon to be 2013 (Mayans be damned) and there are simply way too many ways for me to occupy myself to get too caught up in the fact that I’m not watching hockey. First of all, there’s Twitter. While constantly checking it in the early rounds of NHL/NHLPA negotiations, I came to realize that there are a lot of entertaining people tweeting entertaining things, linking to insightful articles and other such distractions on it. Prior to the lockout, I would say that 90% of the people I followed were for hockey purposes. That’s dropped closer to 50 per cent now.
I saw two movies last weekend: Skyfall and Seven Psycopaths. At no time did I worry about making it back in time for the game. It was wonderful.
I’ve read way more books. Currently reading one about the history of Marvel comics. Just finished one about how 1980s pop culture won’t stop influencing our way of thinking. I read the Bettman book. Also making my way through a tome about the NBA (I would have capitalised that for dramatic effect it, but, well, you know). All of them excellent reads.
I’m paying close attention to my fantasy basketball team. Ball So Harden, what what! I watched more basketball on TV in week one of the NBA season this year than all of last season combined. I’m planning on spending my hard earned dollars on a couple of NBA tickets this season. I’m learning about the game in a way I didn’t used to get it. It’s a pretty good sport. Even though it’s not hockey.
I’ve gotten into Justified. Great show. I have yet to even tap into Homeland, Sons of Anarchy or Walking Dead. But I will. I get 1,000 channels and I have PVR. My iPhone has Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Songza and a backlog of podcasts to listen to. I’m signed up for Netflix: the American version. I’m currently loving a documentary series called America In Primetime, about the rise of quality television.
I’ve also discovered several new bars I really enjoy. Not one of them has a television. I’ve been to a lot more restaurants. Very few of my nights have been ruined by men playing a children’s game that I have no control over, though there was that frustrating soiree spent observing lumberjack hopscotch, now that I think of it (That has to be a real thing in Portland, right?)
I’ll be delighted when the NHL finally comes back. I will. I miss writing for this site. I miss the podcast. I miss game night and hockey highlights and I think it’s bullshit that all that stuff is off the table for the moment.
But, until that time, I’ve got more than enough to occupy my time, to the point that I don’t really miss hockey all that much. Keep in mind, I’m a guy who started a website and podcast dedicated to just one team. I can count on one hand the number of Habs’ games I missed last season, and last season sucked. I can choose from my Gionta, Subban and Price t-shirts when I go to the gym (another thing I’ve started doing a lot more!). I pay $15 bucks a month for the entire French package from Bell, just so that I can get RDS. That is to say: I’m one of those NHL zealots the NHL is sure will come back. And I will.
But, for the time being, I don’t really care. And if I – the fantatic – have found something – dare I say – better to do with my time…
Look, what I know is this: I can say with 100 per cent certainty is that if I weren’t a real nut about it all, I would quite happily not come back. That should probably worry the NHL.
- Zach Vanasse
Zach Vanasse can be heard as co-host of our podcast: “The Two-Four”