Mood: I’ll get back to you on this…I’m not sure.
Music: Crazy Little Thing Called Love, Queen
Game: World of Warcrack. (Rogue 58)
Book: The Name of the Rose, Umberto Eco.
Muffin: None…I didn’t want a banana-blueberry muffin.
Punchline: “It is my sad duty to announce that because a solution has not yet been attained, it is no longer practical to conduct even an abbreviated season. Accordingly, I have no choice but to announce the formal cancellation of play.”
In spite of the fact that the NHL season really probably ended the moment they announced the lockout in September, yesterday still bothered me a great deal. I suppose it’s not unlike being in a relationship that can’t succeed, knowing it can’t, and still being pissed when you break up.
I am pretty upset about the whole thing, really. Hockey has always been the thread that ran through my life, tying together years…remembering when things occurred with my life by who was playing on the Rangers that year.
Remembering where I was during that whole Stanley Cup run…taking every last penny out of my bank account to buy a scalped ticket…being in the building when Messier hoisted the cup over his head. Calling my mother in tears…missing my father more than ever. Meeting my cousin outside the Garden and hustling down to Hop Kee to celebrate. The mounted cops outside the Garden, expecting the riots that never came. Pandemonium in Penn Station…people glued to TVs in all the bars…you could hear the shouting from the Garden all the way in Penn Station. People weren’t going anywhere, even as I ran down the back stairs.
Years of waiting.
Section 341, Row C, Seats 7-8. My season tickets. Been there for years now…except I won’t be going back. Ever.
The great folks all around me…the nice people behind me who brought me homemade cookies, and commiserated over all those horrific teams. Dressing as blind referees for Halloween. The folks to the left, all those guys, bringing a variety of girlfriends over the years. The creative acquisition of the Section 341 signs every season. Watching the kids in front of us grow up over several years…getting big! The folks in the seats…electricians, plumbers, accountants, shopkeepers, teachers. Celebrating high school graduations…college selections. Passing off tickets that you couldn’t use so that a parent could take both kids instead of just one this time. Recalling with dismay all the former 50 goal scorers that the Rangers had that then became not even 20 goal scorers when they got here. Remembering Greg Gilbert was on the Stanley Cup team. Watching Messier become the 2nd leading scorer in NHL history…by scoring twice in a game. Watching Messier against the Sabres on that last game, banging in that goal from his spot, and celebrating…the Garden chanting his name for minutes, standing ovation…knowing that we probably saw his last goal ever. It didn’t matter that the Rangers lost that game. Messier coming out to center ice after the game, bowing to the four corners of the Garden crowd, who, if anything, were even more deafening than when they raised Richter’s number to the rafters that season. The Sabres tapping their sticks on the ice in applause for probably one of the greatest players in NHL history. Belonging to a group of people, 18,200 of ’em every game, who yelled, screamed, cheered, complained, sighed, shook their heads in disgust, or cried in triumph.
How do you do this to fans? Fans can tolerate bad play, bad players, lousy coaching, expensive concessions, an old building, poor ice, an ownership team that is so stupid it’s criminal, expansion teams that can’t even skate backwards, increased ticket prices…but we can’t tolerate you keeping the game from us.
The papers say that when hockey comes back, the fans will come back. Maybe they will.
I paid them in advance for my season tickets, unable to prevent myself…knowing that there might not be a season…but emotionally unable to believe that. Except that they took me for granted.
All the apologies in the world will not make up for the level of betrayal and disappointment I’m feeling right now. Taking something like this away from me, something that defines who I am, can only result in me being very, very angry. And I am.
Forget owners, players, Gary Fucking Bettman…I am pissed at a group of people who, for some unknown reason, think that their sport revolves around them. They are wrong…and I think there’s a generally sick feeling among them, like they were a bunch of kids playing with a grenade, and someone just pulled a pin accidentally.
Sure. A lot of fans will return…because they love the sport, and you can’t keep them away from it. Right now, I’m way too pissed and upset to even consider going back.
I probably will. Who am I kidding…? But isn’t that the real crime here? That they can get away with this because I DO love this sport as much as I do? If I didn’t, they could never risk such a cancellation, right?
But it won’t be soon.
And can someone do me a favor? Please tell the fucking sports media who thinks they know what the fuck they’re talking about in regards to Hockey to just shut the fuck up already? You’re fucking clueless.
Yes, we care the season’s been cancelled. Yes, we think it’s both sides’ fault. Yes, we’ll watch hockey again when it comes back. Yes, we know players like Yzerman, Lemieux, and Messier may never play again.
It’s not our fault you have no idea what the sport is about. Go write about your make believe Patriot “dynasty” and some made up feud between Trot Nixon and Alex Rodriguez. Who gives a fuck? If this stuff had happened a few weeks ago, you wouldn’t have even reported it. You were too busy wondering if Terrell Owens was going to start in the Superbowl.
I have a question…what will EA NHL 2006 be like? A box with no disk in it? And a manual that blames you for it not being there?
Now leave me to my headache and my videotapes of old Rangers games.