Tuesday, June 14, 2011

You Can't Go Home Team Again

It wasn't needed, but last night there was another reminder that I'll never return to being a normal sports fan no matter how far away my experience in sports writing gets.

A neighbor came over to watch the Bruins game, because I have HD and he doesn't. It was a jolly occasion, especially for him when the Bruins scored those four first period goals. He couldn't tear himself away from the subsequent increasingly random action on the ice, reveling in the blowout so thoroughly he wouldn't get up to get another beer unless a commercial came on or Pierre McGuire was bellowing bromides in our ears.

Typical, natural home fan behavior. Blowouts in must-win games are rare, so they should be and are cherished and savored. My reaction, sad to report, was a little different.

Now, while I do not consider myself to have a major rooting interest in the Stanley Cup final, to the extent I have one, it's for Boston. Many people I know well, like my children, are Bruins fans, and I'd like to see them happy. Over the years, I've developed quite a respect for the loyalty and knowledge of their sport the Bruins fan base has shown through thin and until lately thinner. Besides, the performance of the Vancouver Canucks, to put it delicately, has not been of a nature to inspire admiration among neutral observers.

Yet, once it was obvious what the game's outcome was going to be, I lost interest in watching it. I was bored and restless through the second period, let alone the third. Learned behavior triumphed over sentiment more thoroughly than the Bruins triumphed.

Sports writers are fond of blowouts. Routs allow the writer to stop watching the game and start thinking and (even better) writing about it. The longer one has to write, the theoretically better and in reality less painful said writing will be.

My brain saw the fourth Boston goal and flashed an instruction. "Time to stop watching now. Go write a blog post or something." Sick this may be, but I hadn't had company, that's what I'd have done.

But my restless boredom was more than that. I've been spoiled for rooting, because only close games stir my cerebral cortex anymore. I'm a human drama of athletic competition junkie now, and if the game in any sport doesn't wring my emotions, or at least is good enough to wring fan's emotions raw and dry, well, maybe it's time to see if there's another game on, which there always is. I have traded the Thrill of Victory for the Thrill of Thrill Itself. There's a vampirish quality to that attitude I don't much care for, but I'm stuck with it.

As noted earlier, if (and I'm very tempted to say when, based on facts currently in evidence), the Bruins win tomorrow night, I will be happy for a great many other people. That's nice. But it's not nearly the same thing as being happy just because the Bruins won. Second-hand smoke, meet second-hand fandom.


At 10:29 PM, Anonymous Green Thumb Gardening said...

Hockey is fun to see live in the regular season, and unbelievably fun in the playoffs. I can’t imagine how intense it would be in a game 7 type atmosphere, knowing that the stanley cup is waiting backstage.


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