Feeling wistful

So, I am sitting here at home, watching “Les Matches des Etoiles” from le Centre Bell en Montreal when I felt an emotion that I haven’t experienced in quite a long time.


I never played hockey. Always wanted to, but being obese growing up prevented me from doing a lot of things I wanted to do. And that’s not to say it was entirely bad, since there is really nothing worse than embarrassing yourself.

My fat ass on skates? That would do it.

Admittedly, I haven’t put on a pair in about 20 years, and if I were to do so, the only direction would be forward – never learned to skate backwards – and the speed would be slow.

OK…mea culpa out of the way.

Sure, there are diversions in my life that I enjoy. I love to write. I love to cook. I love to read. I am thankful for friends, old and new, that are in my life, and for my family – dysfunctional as they are.

But the passion in my life rests on a pair of sharpened blades and a disc of black, vulcanized rubber. Now, it doesn’t mean I am going to paint my face or perform some other form of ass-hattery to show off. I’m a fan of the game, an ardent one, but also a quiet one.

I revere history. Been to the Bell Centre once, and got there early enough to be one the first in the arena before game time. It’s a little difficult to describe fully, but walking around and seeing the rows of Stanley Cup banners won by the Canadiens, the retired numbers ... the only word available to me would be haunting.

That’s why when I see an event, like what’s going on in Montreal, I may not be explaining it well, but it tugs at me some. The standing ovations the fans gave to the Habs’ storied past – thanking them for the years of great memories.

During the ASG, I saw three of the Canadiens’ greats, Maurice Richard and Serge Savard and Yvan Cournoyer, receive long, adoring standing ovations from the fans. It’s similar to what goes on here in Chicago when Mikita, The Golden Jet, Tony O or Savvy are introduced for an event.

It’s not going to happen this season. Sometime in 2009 or 2010, though, I think I am going to have to go back to Montreal. Not for the poutine, the beaver tails, and even the strip clubs – OK, maybe those – but to re-immerse myself among those who feel the same.

And it gives me a chance to use my French, long dormant, but enough to muddle through.

After that, I need to go back to Toronto. I have never been to a Maple Leafs game there, and it’s the home of the Hockey Hall of Fame. It’s easily been 15 years since my last visit, but when last there, the afternoon flew by.

It's not for a dramatic renewal of purpose. It’s just time.


Anonymous said...

Andy, have you ever been to a peeler here in Montreal?

/Ticker stringer'd

"Igor" said...

Larry wasn't around, and I'm not as bitter as Smitty.