I feel I should begin with a disclaimer—a preemptive surrender of sorts to all of the crazed hockey fans who will be simply incensed by the path this article takes. So, for the sake of self-preservation, mingled with a hint of good sportsmanship, allow me to state for the record:
I like hockey. I do. Really. The movement, the speed, the agility...the fights! I can’t follow that flattened piece of rubber to save my life, but I love, love, LOVE a good gloves-off/jersey-over-the-head fight!
Now, I didn’t grow up with hockey. I was raised in a house that revered pinstripes and reserved autumn Sundays for screaming at flying yellow flags. So, up until fairly recently, I didn’t know much about the sport beyond the basics—Stanley Cup, Wayne Gretsky, Zamboni…
What changed, you ask? What recent event has suddenly thrust the world of hockey onto my radar? Why, I fell in love. With a hockey fan. A BIG hockey fan. More specifically, a big RANGERS fan. Of course, just saying he's a "big hockey fan" doesn't seem to do his devotion justice. Honestly, it doesn't even scratch the surface.
Much akin to the way a blushing bride-to-be counts down the days until her wedding, my boyfriend—all 6'4" of fur and hockey mania—has been diligently providing me with monthly, weekly—and, eventually, daily—reminders as to when the 2010/2011 NHL season would officially begin. Yes, yes, as the last puck dropped into the coffin that was the 2009/2010 NHL season, so started the countdown anew. And what did he say to defend himself, you ask, after I've ever-so-gently (ahem) pointed out that I don’t need updates on an ice-based sport in the middle of a New Jersey August? “Come on, babe, at least from January to April I only have this one sport to focus on—football is over, and I don’t like basketball!”
My man, ladies and gentlemen, my man. He always knows just what to say to make it all better. Sigh.
Now, our generally easygoing household has become a suburban forum for "Let’s Make a Deal." For example, I get to watch two uninterrupted episodes of "Gossip Girl" while I have my morning coffee if he can watch the Flyers/Penguins game later that night (mind you, he is neither a Flyers nor Penguins fan). Or, I’ll agree to watching "Dancing with the Stars" on the small TV in the bedroom if he rubs my back for at least 20 minutes, and so on...We have yet to reach the point where we're bartering for sexual favors, but I have a distinct feeling that such a plateau is right around the proverbial penalty box. And, for the record, regardless as to whether any of these "favors" are for my benefit or his, I can state with absolute certainty that there will be no wearing of sports jerseys of any kind if/when they occur. (That's right, babe—there is no space for Jagr in our bedroom!)
Or, let's just say he concedes an evening, much like he did a mere three Saturdays ago. I wanted to go out for dinner and a movie; he wanted to stay home, order takeout Chinese food and watch the hockey game. The preseason hockey game. PRESEASON! Translation = an inconsequential game! It doesn't count! It has no bearing whatsoever on the season! So why, I ask, would you prefer to sit at home rather than going out for a nice night with your girlfriend? "Well, I need to scout the players for my fantasy teams…"
Sadly, there was no need for me to actually ask. He said this with a completely straight face, so I ascertained fairly quickly that he was, in fact, serious. As I regained my composure and pulled my jaw up from off the floor, I painted my best "I'm-questioning-your-sanity" look on my face and reminded him that 1) it's not often we both have a completely free Saturday night AND that 2) I had no intention of spending it sitting at home while he bellowed at angry Russians on skates!
With that, I grabbed my purse and my keys and headed for the front door.
"Yeah," he said as he followed me out, "I guess you're right. Besides, it's an 82-game season. Trust me, there will be more…"
Believe me. I know.
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