Happens to all of us eventually. Powerless to push away primal urges within, knowing what we’re contemplating doing is so very wrong. We simply cannot deny the desire…take on temptation…consequences no concern.
For me…it’s the NHL Final Four…the chase for Lord Stanley’s Cup.
I ask for no pity, understanding or forgiveness. I can only offer my story.
Like most young boys interested in sports I was most attracted to the three “major” ones growing up – baseball, football and basketball. Yet, you must understand living in the Philadelphia area and being a child of the early 70’s…there was also hockey. The “Broad Street Bullies.” The Philadelphia Flyers. Back-to-back Stanley Cup Champs…and the first non-Original Six franchise to win a Cup.
Enthusiasm for hockey young and old alike was off the charts around these parts then. It was the sport in town. Period.
Couldn’t stand up on skates let alone move forward in them…so street hockey it was. I played it every day for three consecutive summers. Loved being a goalie but also quickly found myself fairly handy with a stick, so when not serving time as the target of neighborhood firing squads I was out on the wing taking dead aim on some poor friend who was also nuts enough to take on netminding duties. You had to be crazy to be a goalie in street hockey back in the day as padding consisted of whatever you could find in the unspoken of sections of the family garage…and if you saved up enough allowance it allowed for what passed as a goalie mask then. Remember, they used to play…without protection.
Each May, when the NHL gets down to its last four combatants for the Cup I steal away from my beloved NBA Playoffs and…shameful as it is to admit…voyeur hockey unfaithfully while my core seasonal love…basketball…is also on. I know this activity is not consistent with morally acceptable behavior in the United States (at least based on television ratings).
There are an awful lot of very late nights involved (extra sessions, you know…) and sometimes I am so spent I don’t know whether I am coming…or going. My wife knows. She’s very supportive…brave…stoic.
Nonetheless, I have decided to come clean with this in the hope it will encourage others to step out of the shadows and confess their love for Stanley Cup Playoff hockey.
I actually started this annual fall from grace Thursday night past. I watched every living, breathing second of Game 7 between San Jose and Detroit. I couldn’t even wait for the weekend. It was…premature observation.
Some folks…do I even go there?…think the NHL Playoffs might be better than the NBA’s…
I know family and friends who had no idea this was going on for years might never think of me in the same way. However, I already have started to feel better as I type this…years of pent-up guilt slowly subsiding, fading away.
One first step towards my goal…for goal redemption.