Hockey Heartbreak

I am writing this in advance of my team’s fourth (and potentially final) game of the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs.  I am by no means admitting defeat, in any way shape or form, of my beloved Canucks to the San Jose Sharks.

Today, I am here to confess that I am a hockey instigator. In no way do I claim to know all about hockey, rather the opposite.  However, I am no slouch. I know teams, most relevant stats, player statuses and rumours inside and out. It is this knowledge that becomes my best friend and mortal enemy during playoff season.  You see, I am not what one would call a “silent spectator”. Sure, I watch games in relative silence, I enjoy the peace, for goodness sakes we all know I have to watch the first period of a regular season game on mute! Playoff hockey brings out the Jekyll in me. I am a raging, high-strung, stressed-out, heart-racing, clawing-at-my-jersey, monster. A monster. There, I said it.

This can best be exemplified by my actions last Friday evening. I was having a girls day out, ending of course in time for puck drop to go spend the evening with my boys. We watched Ottawa and Montreal play, Montreal winning 3-1, and I convinced the keeper of the remote to play the Vancouver-San Jose game immediately after. Down after 20 minutes, Ryan Kesler (Kes-lord to you plebes), strapped the Canucks on his back to score twice in the third, ensuring a Canucks win, with a minute left to play, right?  Wrong. Patrick Marleau, ever invisible, scored the game-tying-goal at 19:04 in the final frame.

Now, until this point, I was quiet. Occasionally looking skyward, praying to the hockey gods for a goal or four to break the opposing goalie’s Berlin Wall-esque demeanour. There were  a few groans on bad hockey plays, and a few instances of shouting at the TV while the boys looked on at me in disbelief. I only acutely resembled this guy, I swear!

At 19:04 of the third, everything changed. I made the quick decision to split, immediately.  Forcing myself to bust-my-butt to get home for the start of overtime (OT).  I explained to the boys that I did not want them to see me “that way”, and scurried out the door. You see, OT makes me freak out. The sit in a corner of my room, rock back and forth and repeat “come on boys” kind of freak out. I am a mess when it comes to sudden-death overtime, why? Because that’s it. That’s all she wrote. No re-dos, no play out the rest of the period, that’s it.  Your goose is effectively cooked, and being down 2-0 in a series is never, ever a good thing, even worse when your next two games of a seven game series are in the other team’s house. Last Friday, I made it home for OT. I loaded up a stream in time to hear iron ring and pray to God that puck hit the post a few inches inside the bar, and not out.  God did not answer those prayers. A minute later, the Sharks scored, the game was over and my team is headed for what many feel is a second consecutive ousting in the first round of the playoffs.

Losing did not sting as badly as it should have. Losing in OT, when your team out hustled, out hit and out shot the winners is the stinger.  This, friends, is hockey heartbreak, and this is why I am writing this today, ahead of game four, down 0-3 in the series with supposedly no hope left. Friday night was heartbreak night, Sunday was time to be enthused and hopeful for 40 minutes, and then watch your team implode night. I have hope. There will be a game 5, at least. There has to be, because if not, I have to hear it from my “friends”, the Leafs fans, in particular, who after 9 years of ridicule, shame, and constantly cheering for a team who fails to live up to expectations, they will seek their revenge.

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Ch-ch-changes

In life, sometimes we all need to take a risk from time to time, if only to spice up the ordinary by trying a new cuisine, or more drastic options, such as packing up your life and moving clear across the country on a wing and a prayer. As most of you may have gathered by now, I am not one for the small gesture. For me, if a change needs to happen, it needs to be balls-to-the-wall or not at all, otherwise it won’t have nearly the impact desired.

Long story short, it’s been just over a month since my last post, I no longer call Vancouver “home”, and find myself 3542km across the country in Ottawa with friends who happen to be like family to me, trying to start the next chapter of my life. This decision was not made lightly at all. Sure, I flipped back and forth on it for the greater half of the summer and ultimately, this was a decision that wasn’t a choice at all. A shift had to occur in my life anyway, and what better place to go than somewhere with legitimate job prospects and a solid as steel support system?

It’s been one week since I’ve arrived. Yes, it feels rather surreal to not see my family or friends in Vancouver daily or weekly. Yes, it feels surreal to see my friends here in Ottawa daily or weekly. This will all taking some adjusting and getting used to. Can I do it? Absolutely. Do I have any regrets? As of right now, no. I can’t say with 100% confidence (more like, 95%) that this is where I am meant to be. However, I can say with 100% certainty that I am not meant to be in Vancouver right now. That’s all the clarity I need for the moment. I know that’s not a lot of assurances to go on for most people, my family members included. Most of them are worried for me, scared of what may or may not come to fruition for me. I completely understand and respect that. However, sometimes following your gut pays off, and my gut hasn’t been this settled on a choice I’ve made in a long time. It’s hard to convey that feeling to people who don’t function that way; the people who need quantitative facts and figures to weigh their options and then take the appropriate course of action. Perhaps it’s a generational gap kind of thing, or a miscommunication of sorts. Regardless, here I am, and here I will be for the foreseeable future.

I find it amazing how much information the human brain can retain. It has only been one week since I’ve moved here, and 3 years since I last officially lived here. In a lot of ways, nothing and everything has changed. My internal navigation system hasn’t quite failed me yet (thank goodness). The surreal feeling I was referring to above is mainly to do with my friends. People I rely upon daily through the wonderful advances in technology, and now they are in front of me- tangibly. My male roommate and friend pointed this out to me a short few hours ago. Our “brunches” we reserved for each other on Sundays when I lived here can now occur at any moment, I just need to ask. It’s the little things like that, the safety nets I didn’t quite realize I needed that let me know things will be OK.

As the quote says above, 20 seconds of insane courage was all it took for me to start my next chapter. I’m not sure what will be written of it, but I can promise it will be entertaining, heartfelt, full of life experiences, and most importantly, all of my own doing.