Before I was into music, I was into hockey.
As a kid for a school assignment I wrote about how Mats Sundin was my hero. When I was old enough to realize I would never grow big enough to be an NHLer my dream for a couple years was to become a pro referee. I remember crying after having my TV watching privileges revoked the night of a Leafs v. Habs match.
As I slid into my teenage years music, movies and a social life took precedence. By the time I had my first girlfriend in middle school I was hardly watching the games any more. By high school I barely knew who was on the roster of my once beloved Leafs.
This all changed 4 years ago with the glorious play of Canada's olympic hockey team. It suckered me back into the game. And now at 24, I've exchanged reading contemporary music blogs for sports analysis. I try to watch not only every Leafs game, but every Jays game too. I am sports obsessed.
For me sports are about the combination of excitement and narrative. Every player, every game, every goal is a further plot point in an extended and infinite story. I follow my teams with the same intrigue that a great page turner can provoke. The danger in this is that at times the games can seem like a proxy for your own life, provoking elation or excessive frustration.
Last night the Leafs took their sworn enemy of the 2010's, the Boston Bruins to seven games in the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. They were up 4-1 with 10 minutes left to play. They blew it. They lost in overtime. In a manner of minutes my mood fell from euphoria to disbelief to soul crushing, gut wrenching frustration... And now today I find myself with the greatest hockey hangover of my adult life.
This is far from a sports blog. I realize the few people that stop by this site are likely uninterested in the Toronto Maple Leafs. There is no point to this entry, other than an attempt to shake some of my frustration by writing about it... and to ask - why do we seek extraneous satisfaction, pleasure, frustration from a childs game played by unfamiliar millionaires? What is it that we don't find in our real lives that we seek as spectators of a sports match? Why do we wear our suffering as a badge, or proclaim our superiority by way of the achievement of our favourite athletes? In moments like these, sensible answers are obscured.
Thanks Leafers for your best season in years. Y'all did good despite the collapse. I tasted victory for a couple minutes, and it was pretty sweet... I'll do my best to forgive what came after.
And if there's any overlap between Leafs nation (or the sporting world at large), and those that follow this blog - I feel your pain.