I surrender, I cave. I do care about hockey. I kind ofâ€“well, I confess: I kind of love it. I’m a hockey nut out of the closet.
I love the sound of the game – the icy echo of the crowd, galumphing organ music, smack of sticks, thud and rattle of bodies against wood and glass. The veryÂ Canadian cadence of the announcers’ voices – he shoots, he scores!
My mother was from Montreal and my dad from Toronto and that sound takes me right back to Leafs vs Habs showdowns, clustered around the tv in pajamas with pop and pretzels and snow piling up outside. Hockey games and Passover seders, my only memories of family gatherings. Ma nishtana halila hazeh? Why is this night different from all other nights? A cup for Elijah and a cup for Stanley. Hallelujah.
I love the speed, the ballet, the muscle and the bizarre acrobatics. The physical contact, the push and shove, is – well it is, sexy. I watch the tv screen with all those fancy camera angles and i can barely keep up, but those guys have only two eyes, at ground level, and surrounded by huge fast-moving men…on skates!…how do they do that?! Psychic interconnection, muscle memory, pure magic. And then somehow the tiny black speck finds its way into the net â€“ or with equal improbability, it does not. And I totally forget. To breathe.
It will be surely be sweet if our homeboys win the Cup tonight, in 7th game playoffs. A city full of happy people is a beautiful thing, and who doesn’tÂ love a street party? But at the risk of ridicule I have to suggest that it doesn’t really matter what happens, who “loses” and who “wins”. It is how you play the game, and how this game played is poetry. At this level of play the notion of winners and losers is ridiculous. I am wishing for two periods of overtime, or three or four or five. In the frozen moments when there is nothing but the swish of puck the ice, I wish this game would never end.
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