Photo credit: @Jeffler
There’s going to be a lot of shortsighted posts from angry bloggers over the next few weeks about how greedy NHL players and owners are. How this lockout is going to forever hurt the game. How fans will never come back like they used to.
As much as I want to be able to write that post, I can’t. It might take some time, but the game will come back stronger than ever and the fans will come back too.
I love this sport with all my heart, but my life will go on without hockey. Yours should too.
When I wrote the first entry for RMNB a few years ago, I explained why I became such a huge fan of the Capitals. I always looked up to my older brother. One night when I was a kid I came downstairs from my room and found Brandon watching a Capitals game. He watched it, so I watched it too. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.
There was more to it than that though. I loved the physicality of hockey, the emotion of the players as they scored. When my dad bought us tickets to see the Caps play the Rangers at the USAir Arena, I could not have been more excited. When Steve Konowalchuk high-fived me coming out of the locker room that night and promised to score a hat-trick goal — which he did a few minutes later — I had a moment which I still treasure to this day.
In the end, that’s what is really being lost. While the owners and players fight over 5 percentage points, fans could lose another year of Alex Ovechkin’s hall of fame career. We’re not going to have special moments like The Goal or The Hot Stick and The Belly Pat. Maybe if we’re lucky, we’ll have non-HD video of Ovechkin skating in a second-class arena in a second-class league a million miles from DC.
Things will replace hockey in my life. I’ll spend more time playing with my ferrets. I’ll spend more time with my beautiful girlfriend. I’ll exercise more. I’ll enroll in a college-level class to learn how to actually write. I’m sure the Orioles and Ravens exciting seasons will keep me occupied too.
I will somehow be okay. Instead of dedicating a part of my brain to that time Mathieu Perreault used his tongue to score a goal, I’ll instead remember that time when my ferret Tricky fell asleep on my chest while we watched Bering Sea Gold: Under The Ice. Or I’ll remember that time me and Ashley went to Ledo’s and savagely argued over if we should get subs or share a large Hawaiian pizza.
These things will all adequately replace hockey.
Brooks Laich, who by the way will make more money in one year than I will ever make in my entire life, had it right when he spoke to reporters on Friday:
The fans lose. Ultimately, they’re the ones that lose. They are the reason we’re able to do what we do and I’d really feel bad if we missed one game and cost one kid a chance to see an NHL hockey game or to meet one of the players or get an autograph or a picture. It is truly going to be a shame if that happens.
We’re all here for a limited amount of time and my cup window as a fan is closing. Every day the owners and players fail to compromise on a new deal, we lose out on something we deeply love. But just like that ex-girlfriend who broke your heart, you’ll eventually move on to other things that’ll make you just as happy.
There just won’t be these kinds of moments that only a hockey game could create.
And it’s a damn shame.