The Great One

Okay, so this is going to be my 99th post.

99, everybody! 99th post, getting posted on January NINE. The effects of ragnarok are still being felt. Let’s just let that sink in for a bit…………all right. Enough.

So I guess whenever you think about 99 you can go three ways (threeway! heyo.) You can go the luftballoon route, you can go the Occupy route (we are the 99%, bitches), or you can go hockey.

I don’t know what a luft balloon is. But here’s the video. Maybe we’ll learn something.

Anything? I got nothin’. Or maybe “Ich habe nichts”, right?

And the occupy movement had its moments, but this is 2013 people. If you want to protest something, #idlenomore is where it’s at.

So that leaves us with hockey.

***Silence*** ***Crickets*** ***More Silence***

Okay, so it’s not that I don’t like hockey. It’s just that it feels like I only have room in my head and heart for one sport, and that sport, happens to be baseball. I don’t know how that happened. I mean, I live in Canada, I should be into hockey, right? Why did baseball plant itself in my heart first? It’s true that my Dad loved baseball, and my love probably stems from that. I remember lots of nights as an early teen about to go out and meet my friends and I would pass my Dad who was sitting in the living room in front of the tv watching most likely the Blue Jays but sometimes possibly the Expos. He’d said, “You sure you want to head out right now? There’s a bit of a barn burner on right now”. “Barn burner” was my Dad’s term for a baseball game that was close and in the late innings. I’m sure he didn’t invent it, but he used it so much that I also attribute it to him. Sure enough, the game would be in a late inning (7, 8 or 9, or maybe extras) and it would be tied or within one run or something. And against my better judgment more times than not I would sit down and finish it off with him. How could I go out? There was romance, history, drama, comedy, excitement and disappointment all waiting in the wings. I was often late to meet my friends in those days.

I’m not saying that hockey doesn’t have all that too, it’s just that I don’t feel it the same way. My Mom loves it, and is a lifelong Toronto Maple Leafs fan. She would listen to the games on the radio before her family even had TV, and I get it. I know what it means and how it feels to be passionate about something, and I do feel a bit bad I don’t feel the same way. I guess maybe I was born without the hockey gene.

Just yesterday it was announced that the owners and the players had reached an agreement and that there will be an NHL season this year after all. Most likely it would start on January 19 and most likely it would be 48 games.

Paradoxically, I am actually more excited by this shortened season that I have been for regular season hockey most other years. Maybe it’s not that I don’t like hockey, per se. Maybe it’s the length of the season that gets to me. I feel like if you’re able to cut your lawn outside, you shouldn’t be inside watching hockey playoffs. Call me old fashioned.

I love Olympic hockey, but that’s only for two weeks every four years and may have as much to do about my deeply held patriotism than with the game itself. So maybe this is the season that I become a hockey fan.

Did I ever tell you about the time that I was walking through the mall and I noticed a small line outside the Cole’s bookstore? I went in to investigate and wouldn’t you know Jean Beliveau was there, signing copies of his autobiography. The only thing I knew about Jean Beliveau was that he appeared in a lyric from a Jane Siberry song. I’ve got a link to the song below. WARNING: she uses the “f” word. I didn’t know a thing about the history of hockey, but somehow I bought a copy and got in line. He signed it, “To Trevor, Best Wishes, Jean Beliveau”.

Well, I felt like a bit of a phony after that, and so I thought I owed it to myself and to Jean to read his book and I was fascinated by it. I loved hearing about all these legends and about the early days. I loved the story of how Guy Lafleur approached Beliveau at the end of Beliveau’s career and asked if he could wear Beliveau’s number 4. In the book, Beliveau said, “No Guy. You see, children all over Quebec wear the #4 because of Beliveau. It wouldn’t be fair to them. You will be a superstar one day, and you need to choose your own number, and one day children all over Quebec will wear that number for Guy Lafleur.” And that’s why Lafleur wore #10. After that, I became a Montreal Canadiens fan, the same way that some people became Oakland A’s fans after reading or seeing “Moneyball”, or so I’m told.

A similar thing happened with Gretzky. He wanted to wear #9, in honour of his hockey hero Gordie Howe, but #9 was taken. He tried a couple of other numbers but wasn’t satisfied. His coach said, “Well if you can’t have one, why not wear two? 99?” Gretzky thought that would be a bit pretentious and that the other team would take shots at him for it. His coach apparently said, “Kid, you’re fast but you’re small. They’re going to be taking shots at you ANYWAY.” And the rest was history.

So yeah, hockey. Shortened season. Bring it on! The best part of a shortened hockey season is that catchers and pitchers report in six weeks, am I right?

Nah, I’m just foolin’ witcha. And to show that I’m not hatin’ on all y’all hockey lovers, here’s a lovely video showing why Gretzky was “The Great One”, set to music by “My Chemical Romance”. Apparently this video brought Kevin Smith to tears, but I think he was on the “marijuana” when he watched it, so all bets are off.

Toodles, and Happy New Year!

"This book was signed by Jean Beliveau so don't fuckin' tell me where to fuckin' go."

“This book was signed by Jean Beliveau so don’t fuckin’ tell me where to fuckin’ go.”

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