On our first date, nearly 10 years ago, Ken told me he wasn’t really into sports. With his charming curls and sweet, dreamy eyes staring back at me, I believed. I believed it meant that weekends would be free to go to the theater. We could take long, winding drives in the country. He would play with the kids in the evenings – if we had them. Sundays would be reserved for, say, day trips and hikes in the woods.
What he really meant to say was “I’m not really as into sports as some of my incredibly whacked out friends who go to every Canucks games, spend their weekends camped out at football tail gate parties and don’t speak for a week after their team loses.”
“I’m not really into sports” in Canadian is code for “I like hockey as much as the next guy” which is code for “don’t speak to me during hockey season.”
In the last 10 years, I have come to understand that my year that actually involves him begins in June and ends in October. Those 16 weeks during which he is not a slave to sports talk radio or the Canucks game schedule are beautiful. We speak. I understand him. The kids never hear phrases like “I’m watching the hockey game!”
Not since the 2002-03 season, when the Canucks lost in the second round to Minnesota, we got incredibly drunk and played hockey in our Seattle apartment before stumbling up to the local pub to drown our sorrows, have I been able to find a way into his regular schedule when hockey is in play. Four years ago, when Ken became the sports cartoonist for the Georgia Straight, I knew I’d lost him forever.
This year, the insanity is contagious.
My whole family has caught Canucks fever. I joked that the final sign of the impending apocalypse on May 21 was the Canucks making it to the third round and got booed out of the room as a result.
Apparently, accepting my fate as a hockey widow and then attempting to joke about it is not a good choice, even with the 5-year-old crowd.
On game days, everyone around here (sans me) has wardrobe requirements, whether they be an unwashed jersey or baby booties with the Canucks logo on them everyone MUST dress appropriately. When said jersey was put on late recently, there was a serious talking to about the value of ritual when it comes to ensuring a Canucks win.
There are Canucks towels that swing during goals, times to walk away from the TV when the Canucks are sucking wind, goal dances to be done in celebration.
We have rituals, people. They must be followed, even if I have no clue what they are because I am too busy trying to actually do something other than yell at the television for three hours.
I love the Canucks, don’t get me wrong. If I ever owned any Canucks gear, I may even be wearing it right now. But my family, they’re out of their Canucks-loving minds and I am completely sure it’s not likely to end until Lord Stanley decides where he is spending this year.
In the mean time I will use this amazing run at the cup to justify beer drinking, pizza eating and a much-needed trip to the spa (for girl time of course). Hopefully I’ll be able to rehabilitate my relationship with my family after it’s all wrapped up