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Olympic Break Syndrome

February 23rd, 2014

Are you a lucky little lady in The City of Light, or just another lost angel?

Paris, France Paris syndrome is a condition that claims a handful of Japanese tourists in The City of Light every year. If you haven’t noticed, Paris is the world’s most obsessed over and romanticized city. The Eiffel Tower is plastered on clothing and other tacky paraphernalia, along with putrid hearts and kissing children in old fashioned outfits, in shops across the continents. It’s hard not to get sucked into all the propaganda, and set unrealistic expectations for your first foray into Parisian life. However, suffering a disappointment over a vacation gone wrong is one thing, but being flat out obliterated psychologically is quite another.

Apparently, in Japan at least, Paris is regarded as the most romantic and most fashionable city in the world. And the tourists from my former island home are completely destroyed mentally when they discover that, for the most part, Paris is not dripping with romance, but rather a cold, unfeeling concrete jungle, inhabited by, not fashion models, but haggard looking chain-smokers, who just happen to dress the same as everyone else. Yep… modelizing will kill you in the end!

Anyway, apparently those dozen or so tourists, that fall victim to Paris syndrome, actually have to be rehabilitated, and may even need a medical professional to accompany them on their flights back to Nippon. Maybe it sounds silly, but for those who possess the island mentality, leaving Japan in the first place was probably a huge deal, and, I suppose, discovering the harsh and unromantic reality of Paris is understandably devastating. No, they didn’t go to Paris and fall in love. In fact, they went to Paris and were probably treated quite poorly, especially being a visible tourist. Even I stuck out. Everyone I met thought I was from Spain, but that’s the case wherever I go in Europe. Plus, the Japanese come from an excessively polite society, so Parisian abrasiveness is likely shocking to them. I’m over this now, but I remember heading down to New Jersey for a couple Devils games during one of my breaks in Japan, and actually being shocked by the way people were treating me and each other. Now I probably wouldn’t even notice it or think anything was wrong with it.

Luckily, I didn’t have high expectations of Paris. Since I still suffer from antisocial oasis syndrome, any romantic ideals a younger me may have had of Paris are simply not applicable. Since I still regard pretty much everyone as modelizers, I regard pretty much everyone as being beneath me and unworthy (I didn’t say I was sane!). See, I equate the superficiality attached to modelizing with a lack of substance, which I associate with a lack of intelligence, which I then associate with a lack of manhood, which I, of course, equate with a complete and total lack of penis and playoff beard growing hormones. So, really, I have about as little interest seeing a modelizer naked as he does seeing me naked. Heaven knows I’ve seen enough of those little-to-no dicks for one lifetime. Anyway, obviously looking for anything, let alone LOVE, in Paris was definitely not on my to-do list this time around.

Plus, I was only in Paris because all the major hockey leagues in the world were on hiatus due to the dreaded Olympics. Seriously, I feel like the Vancouver games JUST ended! Where has my life gone?!?!

Four years ago, I probably droned on about how much I loathe the Olympics, and I STILL do. You know how I feel about people, and well, happiness… Frankly, I don’t care for it. People get so excited and bandwagony during the Olympics, and my Facebook and Twitter timelines get flooded with what I can only describe as uberdouching. The whole thing makes we wish I had 14 arms, so I had an extra dozen wrists to slit. The one silver-lining to the dark cloud that is the Winter Olympics is the hockey, and well, curling, if we’re being honest. But even then… uberdouching. Ohhh, you had to get up at 7AM (ON A SUNDAY) to watch the gold medal game? Poor babies. Last time I checked, I get up between 1 and 3AM everyday to watch regular season NHL hockey. And, yes, I mean get up! Once I finish my 3 hour game time workout, I shower and go to work. No naps! Pissing contest = over. Anyway, at least it’s nice to get a few games in while the rinks across Europe and North America go dark to mourn the arrival of that five-ringed bastard. Unfortunately, the few hockey games that were on, were not available in the so-called City of Love.

Oh, France. How hard is it to show a little hockey? Very hard, apparently, if hockey is on at the same time as figure skating that is! Ok, I get that not all countries like hockey as much as we do in Canada, but seriously, FIGURE SKATING! It’s not that I think it’s ridiculous or that the skaters aren’t well oiled machines, it’s just that the whole sport is so corrupt, how can anyone even take it seriously when the judges clearly don’t?! Anyway…

I didn’t mind the lack of hockey so much when Canada wasn’t playing. I decided Paris was a good place to finally dive into that Downton Abbey series (oh, yes). Maybe this sounds wasteful to you, but you have to remember I wasn’t actually traveling with touristy intentions. This trip was purely to GTFOS (Get The @#$% Outta S****) and go to a place where I was free to walk the streets alone and uncovered, order a champagne cocktail or two if I wanted, and eat plenty of bacon! However, when Canada was playing, that was another story.

I remember one particularly bad day. It had been raining, and I had been out walking my usual 15 miles a day up and down the city. After a few days of this, I was finally starting to become aware of the hockey void. My days seemed pointless and I was kind of lost without having hockey games to plan my life around. My one solace was knowing that I wasn’t technically wasting my time in Paris because the major leagues in Sweden, Russia, and the Czech Republic were all on vacation. But, my trip still seemed incomplete.

Anyway, I decided that this was the day, or rather night, that I was finally going to watch an entire Olympic game from start to finish. I didn’t care what the bar was like, or whether it was deserted or depressing. I just needed a screen! As I was on the hunt, I happened to glimpse Sidney Crosby from a TV inside one of the bars. So, I darted in and plopped myself down in front of my own private screen away from all the other peasants and modelizers attending the establishment. I was so excited to just be watching hockey at a reasonable hour, that I ordered pretty much everything on the menu. Then something went horribly wrong. As the buzzer sounded to end the first period, the coverage cut over to the toe pick brigade – never to return. Let’s just say I wasn’t above cancelling whatever hadn’t been served of my order and immediately getting the fuck outta there!

Now that the Olympics are finally over, and hockey-as-usual is set to resume, I worry about my level of involvement in the game for the remainder of the 2013-14 season. My next vacation is in 3 weeks, and as much as I want to get back to European hockey, it’s incredibly difficult to plan a full blown hockey voyage around inconsistent “if necessary” playoff games. There’s nothing worse than getting on a 6 hour flight, only to discover that there is no hockey to actually watch once you land. I don’t know what to do or where to go!!! Of course, I likely will not be back in North America until the 3rd round of the NHL playoffs either… so, yeah. Can the the Leafs hang on that long? I’m going with no.

P.S. How sad is it that I consider a 6 hour flight to be short?!

P.P.S. Click here for photos from Paris and life in my antisocial oasis.

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5 Years a Psycho (Hockey) Lady

February 6th, 2014

I’m a wolf-child, baby, and I’m howlin’ for you…

Since the 5th anniversary of Psycho Lady Hockey was on Wayne Gretzky’s birthday (January 26), I guess I’m a little late with this post. But since 5 years is, well, a long fucking time, it didn’t feel right not to say SOMETHING about it, especially since I have no idea how much longer this site will actually exist… Truthfully, I’m shocked that it still does.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past 5 years, it’s that I don’t actually have one thing (or anything) that truly defines me, believe it or not. I’m not just talking about the crazy hockey lady shit either. People love to call me all sorts of things I’d never call myself. ‘World traveller’ comes to mind, for example. Yes, it may seem like I’m some sort of travel nut, but the truth is I consider myself more of a wanderer, and actually the furthest thing from someone who “loves to travel.” I view the self-proclaimed jet setters as people who go to the same places to do the same things as everyone who has ever been there and bought the T-shirt to prove it (although, quite often, they like to think they are the first). I don’t. To me, I travel to shake up my life. I go to a new place to see new faces, roam new streets, and see what kind of new mischief will find me along the way. There’s never a plan. There’s never a set itinerary. And I think that may be why this whole hockey thing was so necessary.

Hockey gave me a reason to go to these places. And the promise of an evening puck drop would give my day some semblance of purpose and structure, while I struggled to make the most of each moment in an unknown city or foreign land. Without it, well, I’d probably spend my days lost in my head while wandering aimlessly up and down sidewalks. But, sadly, ever since I started traveling to hockey games for the sake of seeing new arenas and places, I started to lose the part of me that was a passionate hockey fan.

You see, once I stopped caring about what teams I was watching, and started focusing more on where I was watching them, I also stopped caring about the actual game. I mean, in the past 5 years, more often than not I was NOT seeing MY team play. I was exploring hockey rinks whenever my schedule dictated I could. So, if my team wasn’t playing, then I was not really invested in the outcome of the game. I feel like it’s been a long time since I’ve been to a game where I was actually emotionally chained to the scoreboard. Anyway, as a result of my motivations changing, my relationship with the game also changed. Hockey became the stage on which my evening unfolded, and the backdrop for all my strange and unsavoury tales from the road. Frankly, after 5 years, it is starting to feel like a very expensive way to “set the mood,” if you will.

Sometimes I think the shit-eaters were right all those years ago. Maybe I’m a fake fan. Maybe all I care about is drama, fucking hockey players, and everything but what is happening on the ice. But then, just as I’m about ready to throw in the towel, delete the tweets, and bury Psycho Lady Hockey deep in the bowels of cyberspace, my alarm clock goes off. Fittingly, my alarm is set to the theme song from The Good, The Bad & The Ugly. With a bit of effort, I roll out of bed and turn on the game for yet another 3AM puck drop in the NHL. And just when I think I had it all figured out, and by ‘it,’ I mean my wasted life as a “fake” hockey fan, I realize that, from my antisocial oasis in the desert, it’s not the travel or the drama that drives me to go to bed at 7PM every night and wake up at 3AM every morning. Obviously, there is something deeper that has enslaved me to the game, and gives me this overwhelming need to support those boys on the ice even if it’s just in spirit, and they have no idea that I’m watching their every play.

So, I guess after 5 years, I’m no closer to understanding my complicated relationship with hockey, so I suppose Psycho Lady Hockey hasn’t found its happy (or tragic) ending just yet. Hopefully, after half a decade of stories and tales of strippers, failing supermen, fear boners, whiteouts, blackouts, car accidents, train wrecks, and 74 arenas spanning 3 continents, you haven’t grown as bored with my life as I have. Hang in there. I’m sure, sooner or later, hockey and I are bound to figure out the parameters of our bizarre love affair. Once we do, we’ll make sure that you’re the first to know. Promise.

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