I’ve seen this happen in other people’s lives, and now it’s happening in mine…
Somewhere on the Eastern shore of Japan Over the past few weeks several different people have said something very interesting to me. They told me they felt that I had lived “well beyond my years,” and that I had the same amount of life experiences as your average 40 year old. They were largely referring to the decade I dedicated to lurking around the hockey arenas of the world, and my stints abroad in Asia. The funny thing is that I have always regarded both of these pieces of my history as embarrassments and unpleasant reminders that I have failed to mature along with my colleagues to the point that, as my 27th birthday draws nearer, I have been left completely and utterly in the dust.
The fact is that over the past 10 years or so, hockey has been the source of all the ill in my life: fake friends, stupid males, poor decisions, etc, etc. All those games, all those road trips, all those hilarious segments on Coach’s Corner fail to even come close to making the evils of my life in hockey (to this point) seem worth it.
I started out, so I thought, as a sort of activist. But I’ve long lost the will to fight for what I had been fighting for. My cries of reason seemed to fall on deaf ears. I had hoped to help the women of hockey change their self-oppression under the imagined threat of the puck bunny. However, instead of listening to my message, I was dubbed the heretic, and even the lone oppressor in the history of the game itself. So, now I will spare myself the exhaustion of being a broken record, and leave all of you, whom this involves, to rot in the darkness of something you don’t understand, and all the murderous inward and outward rage that this ignorance can and will breed. Frankly, I wonder why I ever took up this cause in the first place, but deep down I think I had selfish intentions of making my own little world, the hockey world, a better place for me and me alone. You can’t really blame me for being so shortsighted. I was 17 when this whole notion came into my head, but God, there really are so many other things that I could be fighting for.
Activism aside, I think I had also become a truth seeker of sorts. I wanted to know every secret. I wanted to see everything, and go everywhere. But this knowledge, and this experience has really just become a curse. It’s to the point now that I can’t even go back to just being a fan. Every hockey game I see reminds me of something horrible, or traumatic, or embarrassing, or downright evil, and there is always a moment in every game that I have to suppress the urge to tell the whole arena to go fuck themselves. Yes, hockey really does make me a psycho. And while I do love the game, the hatred I feel towards the baggage that comes with it prevents us from any sort of reconciliation. Sometimes I wish that I could suffer from total amnesia and just forget everything that has ever happened in my entire life because, frankly, I can’t remember anything before my life in hockey. But sometimes I think even that is not enough. I couldn’t even tell you the kind of girl I’d be today if I never got involved in hockey because it is completely beyond imaginable. I really should have taken the blue pill.
So what happens now? Is Psycho Lady Hockey finished? Maybe, although I have no plans to take any steps toward shutting it down. All I can do right now is go through the motions, as I have been doing, hoping for some sort of electric jolt that can make me love hockey once again despite its flaws, and grant me the ability not to see beyond the final buzzer. Plus, having 4 NHL rinks left to visit hangs over me like a menacing storm cloud, though I’m not sure why, exactly. I mean it’s not like I’m going to get some award for visiting all the rinks. Hell, in my case, I’ll probably just get called a stalker, or puck bunny, or desperate whore (again) for achieving this feat.
You know what’s interesting? Every time I pick up an autobiography of some member of the hockey community, I always laugh when I flip to the last chapter and see, “I HATE HOCKEY!” written in big capital letters. I think I must find it funny because I can identify with it. I think for those of us who have allowed hockey to take us, to own us, and to, inevitably, become us, we can’t help but get knocked across that thin red line between love and hate. When hockey is everything, it is all that is bad and all that is good, and in the end it becomes impossible to see through that wall of shit to all the joy that the game once brought us. Maybe for people like us, we will all hate hockey in the end, but maybe, just maybe, we will, with time, be able to love again.
P.S. Happy Birthday, Wayne Gretzky.
Top Photo: Devils/Panthers Post Game. Notice my cold, dead eyes.