I have become with a new sport. Years and years ago I tripped and fell into Arsenal insanity thanks to an internet friend. This year, thanks to a whole other friend? Oh yeah. Hockey. Pittsburgh Penguins. Just like that. I almost didn’t fall in love because of the stupid lock-out of which I still don’t understand all (or most) of the details, but a short season is better than no season (insert the THIS WOULD NEVER HAPPEN IN PREMIER LEAGUE face here), so I’ll deal. Even if I worry about injuries when they play games every other day or sometimes even several days in a row.
Growing up hockey and football were the most popular sports, and you kind of just had to hope that Sportnytt, the sports show that summed up the day/weekend’s sporty events, would squeeze handball in on a corner instead of showing excerpts from yet another hockey game you didn’t care about (they usually didn’t). So, naturally, I decided to dislike it. It’s all about punching each other anyway, right?
This is, I have found out, not true. People do punch each other and I did hear Engelland (who is, from what I’ve been told, employed as much to be tough and scary and hit people as he is for his defensive prowess) say about an awful black eye “eh, I can still see out of it, it’s cool”, but truth is that I’ve almost come to like the fights. Not so much because they make sense or because punching someone in the face is what I want to see when I watch a game (I really, really don’t), but I do like how these boys back each other up. When one person gets injured/goes down/takes a bad hit, his teammates? They’re so there. 100%. It’s almost sweet. You know, if sweet was a 6’2 scary hockey player with murder in his eyes.
I’m still a bb!fan and have only just learned to follow the puck (it’s hard, okay?) as it’s played, soooo I have tons to learn but a few things I really enjoy after having followed this crazy game for a bit over a month:
- when they shoot the puck into the boards and sort of just know what angle it will bounce back from, and time it so the right person is there to scoop it up,
- the way they fist bump everyone on the bench after they score a goal,
- how beautiful sneaky passing is in this game (sorry football, you’ve got nothing),
- how really good skating looks like dancing,
- what I said above, how they all got each other’s backs at any given time,
- how at the end of a game they all have to go a knock helmets with the goalie, sort of like my cat does with me when she’s feeling a cuddle coming on,
and a whole lot of other things that would probably make a ‘real’ fan roll their eyes so hard and probably pat me on the head and tell me it’s just because I’m a girl that I don’t really get it. Don’t worry, boys, I’ll get there. Trust me. I would present my football knowledge as proof but fuck that, I don’t need to prove anything to anyone.
And speaking of goalies! My favourite player so far is the guy above. His name is Marc-André Fleury and he’s the most adorable French-Canadian kid ever. He seems unable to not smile or laugh while talking, he accidentally swears in interviews all the time, he has an awesome accent and embraces the fact that everyone calls him Flower. Because why wouldn’t you, when someone has a last name like that? (There’s also a guy called Cookie, just like me!)
You also have to appreciate the guts it takes to throw yourself flat on the ice as half a dozen players are coming towards you at an insane speed, and yes, the goalies are, as described in the comic below “breakdancing ninjas wearing giant robot costumes”. I love a good goal and beautiful passing makes me sigh happily, but it’s the ninjas I love the most.
The comic? Comes from this page, and I do hope it’s okay to post it like this because it’s perfect. (Also read this one, about a gay couple who are a hockey player and an opera singer, it’s awesomecakes.)