Sunday, May 28, 2006

This is really happening

It seems as though absolutely everyone I know, even people with what could only be charitably described as a passing antipathy for hockey before these playoffs started, is posting about this, or yelling about this, or hugging random strangers about this. It's not the kind of, "Let's honk down to Whyte and see some tits!" excitement, either, mostly because I don't really know any people I would characterize as such, I'm sure, but also because the excitement seems to be actually overtaking that retarded party feeling. The partying just for the sake of partying is, I think, in its own way a kind of defeatist, pessimistic attitude, a feeling that this will never happen again and is likely as not to end in a few days time, so we might as well stab people and see tits while we can, because this won't be condoned on your average Friday night. (As an aside, I defend my earlier hysterics as realism, not pessimism.) Now that we're actually in the Finals, though, it seems like a time not to party, but to reflect, to care, and any celebration that comes from that is one of pure, innocent joy, relatively unconcerned with tits or knives (likely also aided by alcohol, but it's a mood-enhancer, so why shouldn't it be around?).

It's hard to figure out exactly what to feel here. I've essentially always been an Oilers fan while the team was bad, Boethius' wheel carving a rut across the last dozen years or so, and the notion that the Oilers would even make the playoffs was, at best, optimistic dreaming as often as not (to whit: the only player on the Oilers to even play in a Stanley Cup final is Mike Peca--Roloson was the back-up for Buffalo that year, but didn't actually see time in the Finals--and not a one has ever won a cup). To think that the Oilers technically have a 50% shot of winning one now, is--well, I'm not used to it, to understate it slightly.

It means something extra to me as an Oilers fan, though. See, as much as I love this stupid team, and scream expletives at the TV screen (I believe it wasn't even the five-minute mark of the first when I started yesterday, which is quick even by my standards), and feel crushed during losses and such, I am not, at this point in my life, a sports fan. I'm an Oilers fan, and that's where it ends now. I certainly used to be a sports fan--all through my teens, I could have named a solid half of all players in the four major NA sports leagues, and owned t-shirts from most of them as well, including one European soccer club. It's changed, though. My interest in basketball was always the most tenuous (mostly due to the dynasty teams, which I always found boring) but ever since I turned 17, I've been entirely unable to fathom why anyone watches football, since I find even the video games tedious and repetitive. Baseball held on for a while, but has essentially been reduced to a bar patio with a remarkably realistic television, and the only reason I'm even aware of soccer anymore is because I was in Spain for Euro 2004, unable to go to Portugal because of the tournament (though I did enjoy watching the games with a hundred men of all ages yelling "PUTA!" in near-unison at the TV in Spanish bars). I haven't actually seen the entirety of a non-Oilers hockey game since the 2002 Olympics, and I could barely be bothered to find out the scores of Canada's games this year, much less track down highlights.

What I'm getting at, here, is that I'm not attracted to the poetry or majesty of the game, nor its intricate subtleties, nor anything about it other than the fact the Oilers play it. Inexplicably, an emotional connection forged when I still laughed at Garfield compels me to jump up and down in the middle of bars and wax poetic on the internet, all the more remarkable considering I don't even talk to my best friends from high school anymore (which was all of four years ago), to say nothing of my general emotional distance.

It's just--well, it's strange. This whole run has taken on something more than a sports championship for me, almost a stirring, glorifying flourish for the last remnants of what I was, the death parade for an old personality I have trouble understanding these days. I can't for certain say that this will be the end of sports for all time, or anything, but nonetheless, I fail to really see what else I could possibly hope to get out of it; even should we not actually win the damn thing (just to be clear, I don't consider three rounds good enough, by any stretch, and we had better goddamn win it), the circumstances surrounding everything--the highly unexpected nature of the run after years of futility, the similarities with Calgary only a season ago, the fumbling celebrations, and some personal things I'll not go in to--have created an atmosphere that doesn't seem replicable again.

Of course, dwelling on the moment while it's happening only serves to ruin it, but in any case, with the clock winding down last night, the gravitas of the situation came to bear on me full force. There's still much hockey left to be played, of course, and I'll have forgotten all about this once the puck is dropped on the Finals, but this all just seems a little bigger than hockey at the moment. I suppose it will pass.

12 comments:

---HockeyDude--- said...

Hey man, i'm trying to get a you tube video onto my blog. Can you help me out? My email is raiden99@hotmail.com . thanks.
my blog site is http://overtimehero.blogspot.com

case said...

i'm thinking of asking the oilers to contribute to a sperm milkshake like the one used to create danny devito and arnold in the hit movie 'twins'. i hope my lady friend goes for it. she has been rather intoxicated during the playoff games this year.

mike w said...

>This whole run has taken on something more than a sports championship for me, almost a stirring, glorifying flourish for the last remnants of what I was, the death parade for an old personality I have trouble understanding these days.

Wait until you reach your 30s. When the Oilers last scored a Cup I danced a waltz with a dog long since dead, while low fivin' my dad back when he had hair and the ability to do manual labour.

Where you were and what you were doing is important for those that hate to miss out, especially if you're like me and slept right through 9/11 in a nyquil-induced haze.

Krista said...

Cool blog. Good post. It has inspired me to post something similar.

Randy said...

Ahhh Ha!!!! I fuckin' caught you, too cool for school.
You wondered how those tortured assholes in Calgary could get so spoiled over the course of 13 playoff wins only to realize that you're surrounded by the jetsam of humanity, and might possibly be in danger of becoming flotsam yourself.
Back in the Garlic City in the miserable year of 2004, you called them deluded, hated them in a deep, hidden, secret place and now here you are... staring into the abyss that is your soul!
For years, you've mocked every thin-mustached plumber in Garlic City who's got a "Tik90" personalized license plate. Then here you are on the precipice, contemplating that irresistible leap that is only one clean, fresh step away.
Soon you'll be livin' for pickles, arguing with bus drivers about Georges Laraques's chances against Dave Semenko and driving an 1987 Firebird to Reds for Kim Mitchell tribute night. Weekday afternoons in the Strat instead of the odd Friday night. Weightlifter pants. A last name like Gorgenchuk
Two years ago, I struggled with a lot of the same questions the PMotors finds himself pondering currently.
Had Calgary really awoken from the sterile nightmare that I fled, oh, those many years ago?
No. Not at all. In fact the tit parade on 17th Avenue was only a more frightning strain of the conformity that I pledged my life against.
I really hate to be the one who's doin' this, and lord knows that the magic is as much in me as it is in you... but I've seen this movie before and the based-on-the novel about English soccer is better. Jimmy should have gone after Tina Fey anyway and not Drew Barrymore, no matter how absolutely luscious she is behind that knockout smile.
Mike Peca is not your pal. You'll never play records at his birthday party.
And while it's true that most North Americans are craving a monumental group experience -- Don DeLillo has bought five yachts shoveling that load -- it's it's a backdrop, not a romantic comedy that's being written just for you.
PS - That's probably confusing for about half the people on here. And probably too much info for everyone else. I just though it had to be said... and I thank god it's not the Maple Leafs, or Evan Soloman would be involved.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

huh?

Joe Pelletier said...

Hi there. I just wanted to thank you for what is quite possibly the
best Edmonton Oilers fan site on the internet. Keeping up on every
team nowadays is really tough, so I like to find good sources on every
team and visit them regularly. I have bookmarked your site and look
forward to reading about your thoughts during this magical time. The
Oilers are very much a team of destiny in the new NHL, and although I
fear Carolina is still the favorite at this stage, this British
Columbian will very much be cheering on the Edmonton Oilers! Go Oilers
Go!

I also have a network of websites where I profile hockey legends. The
Oilers portal can be found at http://oilerslegends.blogspot.com/ . I
hope it is of interest to you and to your loyal readers. The whole
Legends of Hockey network I'm creating is only 2 months old, so it is
still a fraction of what I want it to be. So far profiled Oilers
include Gretzky, Fuhr, Kurri, Anderson, Semenko, Gregg, Ranford,
McClelland and Tikkanen. I hope to add more soon.

I'd love to hear what you or others think of http://oilerslegends.blogspot.com/
Link it up if you think it is something your readers will enjoy. I'd
love to hear your feedback and suggestions for future profiles from an
Oilers point of view.

--
Joe Pelletier
------------------
http://www.1972summitseries.com
http://www3.telus.net/worldcuphockey
http://www.legendsofhockey.blogspot.com
http://www.travelnorthwestbc.blogspot.com

Randy said...

Re: Randy's Rambling Reply.
Well, that's what you get on stream-of-consciousness Sunday nights.
In reflection, I think P-Motors (and perhaps all Edmontonianites) is (are) wrestling with the idea that something larger than life has taken over their lives, which have been pretty unfulfilling hockey-wise. Crowd mentallity, shopping carts and barrel fires are just one manifestation of this, of course, so good on you for examining another facet. As a dude who's somewhat involved in the business of sports, I've been trying to reconcile how essentially meaningless sporting events often alter lives in such real ways. I'll be presenting my theory to the academy in fall session... there, much more reasonable.

DrFrankLives said...

Rest up.

You'll need it. ;-)

-DrFrankLives

As a Hurricanes Fan who remembers the feeling of "What the hell, this won't happen again, let's touch the Prince of Wales trophy and have a ball, because Detroit is going to smear us" from 2002, I feel your joy.

Just don't be too disappointed when you realize (should we beat Buffalo, knock on wood) that:

(a) Glen Wesley is a seasoned veteran with loads of dirty tricks

(b) Rod Brind'Amour is possessed

(c) Eric freeking Staal is the man

(d) Cam Ward will match Rolo save for save

(e) you're actually going to be the underdogs (regardless of who wins in the East). shhhhhhh.


Here's to a great series (I hope). Now wish us luck in Game 6 tonight.

By the way, I discovered your blog through redblackhockey, an excellent Canes blog.

-DFL

Zanstorm said...

Screw the Canes!!!!! Go Sabres!!!!
I think you may have point, though, DrFrank. The Oils could be underdogs regardless. But I give up trying to figure it out! Are the Canes better than the Oils? I think the Oils have a better chance against the Sabres.

Pleasure Motors said...

If I may rebut:

(a) Glen Wesley is a seasoned veteran with loads of dirty tricks

So was Chelios. What's he up to these days?

(b) Rod Brind'Amour is possessed

A good three quarters of our team is possessed. Has Rod Brind'Amour thrown up between periods and kept playing (Horcoff, Roli), or been on IV drip for three hours after a game (Smith)?

(c) Eric freeking Staal is the man

So was Patrick Marleau. And Teemu. Cheechoo, Thornton, Yzerman, Datsyuk, Zetterberg: all the man. We have a man, too. His name is Chris Pronger.

(d) Cam Ward will match Rolo save for save

It's Roli. And Ward won't actually match Roloson save for save, because Roloson will probably see double the shots Ward does. So there.

(e) you're actually going to be the underdogs (regardless of who wins in the East). shhhhhhh.

Gee, I wonder what that will be like.

As Game Four taught us, I think it's best not to get ahead of yourself; don't start trash talking the next team you're going to play until they're actually the next team you're going to play.

Now wish us luck in Game 6 tonight.

We will never wish you luck. Though if this is how you Canes fans roll, playing you would be fun.

Randy in the Med Hizzo said...

Was that seriously a Carolina Hurricanes fan?!? Wow. It's a regular Hinterland Who's Who on the blog these days. Notice the NASCAR-ish tone, unique spelling of "Freeking" and the creeping religiousity (maybe Rod Brind'amour IS possessed?).
Seriously, good to meet you Dr.Frank. Maybe the Original Randy will stop by one of these days. Yeah, you love the OR.