This will be a quick, short, depressing post that I’m writing because I need to get it off my chest. I asked a question this morning that the pre-lockout me would have kicked my ass for even thinking.
One week ago today I was having a conversation about how pissed I still got when I thought about the lockout and the NHL. That anger was something that I held on to because it was still a feeling, it meant I still cared; I still cared enough to be angry and want to punch babies, drown kittens and burn puppies. The rage that burned inside was hot and fierce, but it was a feeling, it kept my Hockey soul alive. Feeling anger and rage is better than the emptiness of feeling nothing, it’s better than the hopeless void that exists when apathy takes over; when the void exists but you can’t feel it anymore. Today I proposed that perhaps it was actually better if the Winter Classic is cancelled this year, regardless of if we have a season (news flash, I don’t think we will). I've gone through the stages of shock and denial. The stages of anger and despair took a long time, but now the anger is fading and I don’t give enough fucks anymore to get irate and rant and rage.
The despair is giving way to the apathy and the rationalization and bargaining has begun. The NHL has fucked the non-existent season so badly that maybe they should cancel the Winter Classic. At this point if the season started with the WC (or even a few weeks before) the lockout has tainted the spirit of the WC so badly that for me there wouldn’t be a pure, unadulterated enjoyment of the WC like there should be. The Winter Classic to me is supposed to represent the love of the game, creating an outdoor rink, playing the game in a location that’s at close to its origins as you’ll see an NHL game played. This one was going to be extra special, not only were the Wings going to be in it, but the Leafs as well. Two original 6 teams who have a history of great rivalry.. the teams, the fans, the atmosphere, the record attendance.. it was going to be epic. But right now, even if the NHL hadn’t cancelled the Winter Classic, I probably still would have watched it, but it would have been with bitterness, anger and conflicted thoughts and emotions. The WC would have been tainted, violated and what it’s supposed to represent would have been replaced with something else that was more bitter than sweet. pre-lockout me would be kicking my butt right now for even speaking such words. Maybe it’s just part of my coping process, if I rationalize the inevitable and convince myself that maybe it’s for the better, than maybe it won’t hurt so much.
The NHL has taken something beautiful, something I love and shit all over it and a part of me is dying; the anger is fading and I'm going numb. I guess when something you love so much rejects you, the pain and anger get to be too much and you have to make yourself not care as much to try to get over the heartbreak. You feel like it will never happen, you’ll never be able to let go and the pain and anger feel like they will consume you forever, you think surely they will never go away and you’ll suffer forever. Then one day something happens, you hear news about it and it doesn’t hit you as hard as it always did. It doesn’t hurt quite as much and you don’t get so angry that the rage monkeys burst from your chest and lay waste to everything in sight. I guess that means you’re getting over it. The NHL has no idea what it has done, it’s not just losing casual fans who may catch a game once in a while and it’s not just losing new fans who haven’t yet become raging addicts, it’s losing the very heart and soul of its livelihood. I can’t even get angry enough right now launch into a tirade about all the repercussions and how utterly stupid the NHL is being. It doesn’t matter, no one cares and I’m caring less and less. What’s the point? There’s nothing I can do about it. I don’t know what will happen when/if we have Hockey again. I’m sure a whole new coping process will start and I don’t know what it will entail, but the fact that I, and other Hockey fans that have been dedicated for far longer than I, have come to this point is sad, unnecessary and depressing.
Congratulations NHL I hope you’re proud of yourselves.