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July, 2012

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Hockey Rehab (Day 90): Another year, another Free Agent Frenzy…

You could say I became chronologically fucked up…

Somewhere on the Eastern shore of Japan It’s hard to believe that it’s already time for free agency, and it’s even harder to believe that I moved to Japan over a year ago. The fact that I’m still here is downright shocking! I’ve experienced the NHL offseason, the preseason, the regular season, the post season, and witnessed the hoisting of the Stanley Cup all from the distant shores of this mysterious Eastern land. What may be even more surprising is that I am still in Asia for the Euro Cup! I know it’s an inferior sport and all, but you may remember that I was living in Korea during the World Cup two years ago!

Although I may have a slight hockey addiction, the Euro Cup actually makes me feel more homesick than the Free Agent Frenzy. You see, in my family, I’m essentially the only hockey fan. My uncle, a long time Leafs fan, seems to have grown quite disillusioned with the NHL over the past decade, and he will always opt to watch a Raptors game over the Leafs whenever the schedule demands that a choice be made between the two.

My purebred, off-the-boat Spanish grandmother is another story. My abuela has used sport as a way to perpetuate her already enormous Spanish pride. Spain is the world, and the Spanish both invented and discovered everything (in case you didn’t know). And if you want to know what really happened during the Spanish Conquest, just ask her!

“NO! We did not rape or kill! OK! I’ll tell you what we did. First we said, ‘Yes, let’s go to the New World!’ So we got in our ships and we went there. On the ship they had a little bar with a chef that would make you anything you want. If you want an omelet *makes stirring motion with hand* right there, he’ll make it for you. You want to put some onions, right there, he’ll put it for you. Chorizo? Right there *still making stirring motion, by the way.* Yes, then we got to the beach. We got off the ship and we just talked to them! We taught them to play chess… We gave them recipes for paella…. Yes, some of our men may have had a little… romance… or two, but there was no rape…”

Anyway, any sporting event that Spain or a Spanish person is involved with must be supported at all costs. The Euro Cup is obviously much more significant than your everyday, run of the mill Rafael Nadal match, but that may be because she doesn’t quite care for his style, “Nadal is #1, but he looks a pirate!” My uncle even took the day off work to watch the Spain/Portugal semi-final game with her! So, for the sake of my grandmother, as well as anyone trying to have a pleasant Canada Day on College Street, I’m (obviously) pulling for Spain in the 2012 Euro Cup title game this afternoon!

So, as you can see the Euro Cup has made me think about my grandma and life back home. The thing about my grandma is that she always wanted to be a nun, and I found myself thinking about how changing that one aspiration she had in her life, essentially resulted in the lives of (to date) 7 other people. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m in Japan, or the fact that I’m getting older, and at my age my mother was already on her second marriage, but thinking about this kind of makes me ponder the severity of the consequences of each decision we make in life. How many future beings have we destroyed (or have we thrust into being) by following or not following our dreams? Obviously, I’ve wondered what life I would have now if I didn’t get sucked into the seedy underbelly that is hockey, or even what I would be doing today if my uncle never took me to Maple Leaf Gardens all those years ago. However, from the Eastern shores of Japan, these questions have really been eating away at me – not so much about the hockey, but about the fact that I am here, and still here, one year later. I guess the reason this unsettling thought process is starting to make me anxious is because Japan has always felt like a mistake. When I moved to Korea, I never felt like I was in the wrong, but as soon as a boarded my flight to Japan last year, I felt like I had just committed a grave error. All season long I have felt another year of my life slipping away from me, and it threw me into a kind of panic that time is running out for me to get my footing on a solid path. Perhaps I’m just being a head case, but I can’t help but wonder what hypothetical thing I managed to fuck up just by being here. I suppose I’ll never know…

P.S. Happy Canada Day to everyone back home, and a Happy Free Agent Frenzy to hockey fans the world over!

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