Sunday, February 28, 2010


I readily admit to being mostly ignorant of the finer points, if there are any, of hockey. I’ve never been a hockey fan, even casually. Yet today I spent a lot of time trying to watch the US v Canada Olympic gold medal game. As of right now, they are playing an overtime period because neither team could win it in regulation time.

Regulation time—in hockey that means a weird three periods. They don’t play quarters or halves like normal sports. They play thirds. That right away requires an uncomfortable adjustment for me. I kept waiting for the quarter to end and the halftime entertainment to start. Of course the rules are a mystery to me. Icing? Isn’t that something you put on a cake? There just seems to be a whole lot of rushing around madly with no apparent purpose other than to work up a sweat.

Scoring? It seems to be mostly accidental. There’s a mad scramble around the net that usually ends up with the puck being sent flying away down the ice harmlessly. Boring. The announcers insist that there are actual plays being run by the skaters, but the puck’s serendipitous sliding makes a mockery of that claim. It all seems so totally helter/skelter for there to be any form to the proceedings.

Then with a mere 24 seconds left in the game the US scored a goal to tie the game. The whoosh of arctic air that changed the jet stream’s course was the sigh of disbelief emanating from the 34 million Canadians whose very existence depends on the play of their national hockey team. On to overtime and more formless skating around. Oh my, the Canadians just scored the winning goal. There will be no crying in Canada tonight. But I’m still crying over the three plus hours I just spent trying to make sense of the whole spectacle.

Fortunately, I caught a nice nap through most of the second third of the game so the time wasn’t totally wasted.

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