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Bradley, Kolzig, Nash, Crosby, NY Giants, NE Patriots – WOW! and My Event Horizon

January 22, 2008

Hi Diddley-Ho from the Great Hockey Void. Thursday night’s hockey was just fantastic for hockey lovers. Before I get into the Capitals-Oilers match-up, I just have to mention Rick Nash. Did you see that goal!? Holy Macho-Camacho Batman – that was beyond sick. It was the most interesting goal I can remember seeing during my long-time love of the sport. It wasn’t just the Nash factor either. The players he got around, and the goalie, all seemed to be completely unaware of what was actually happening. I wonder how many times I can re-watch that footage before I get tired of looking?

But, onto more great action. The Oilers were in DC to play the Caps at the Verizon Center on Thursday night. It was a game that I’m very sorry I could not see in person at the “phone booth”. I saw the game in my living room and by the time the shoot-out came around, I was up and shouting things at my TV with such excitement that one of my neighbors came over to make sure everything was okay. Shot after shot came and went. As if my instructions could be heard by the Caps, I kept repeating loudly, “Shoot stick side. Roloson’s at a disadvantage stick side. Stick side. Stick side. Stick side.” I was also encouraging Olie Kolzig with all my might as well. Then round 12 began and out came Matt Bradley. I yelled out, “Come on Matt, make Stittsville proud – shoot stick side!” Bradley got the puck behind Roloson (stick side)!!!! Woo-hooo. When Souray came out for his turn, I think most people, including Olie, knew he was going for the straight-on bomber. Olie came out and took the puck in the chest like the seasoned veteran he is to lock the win and the two points for the Caps. I bet Stittsville is proud Matt! It was a good night in DC and in Washington Caps fans’ homes everywhere!

My goal for Thursday was to get to the game in DC, but certain weather, health and financial events lead to my ultimate decision to stay home, forego the trip to the Verizon Center and watch the game from the comfort and safety of my living room. If it was just the weather, or just the fact that I didn’t have toll money (meaning I’d have to go around I-695 or go through Baltimore City), or just the fact that I was feeling especially tired on Thursday, I would have gone ahead with my original plans to attend the game. But – I got the Trifecta or Hat Trick, if you will, of situations that, together, prohibited my attendance. Too bad for me eh?

Saturday’s Capitals game at the Verizon Center against the Florida Panters was another great win for DC. Not only was it a 2 point win, it was also a Southeast Division win. Brent Johnson did very well behind the net and two of the Capital guys I tend to get a bit “annoyed” with (Erskine and Kozlov) due to poor performances and underachievement stepped-up and scored one goal each. It’s so amazing watching the Washington Capitals nowadays. I get little surprises with almost every game! Semin looks as though he’s comfortable on is ankle now. He scored a goal against the Senators last week that was nothing short of S-A-H-A-I-K!!!!! Backstrom has joined the NHL ranks in strong form and it wouldn’t surprise me if he ends up with Rookie of the Year. GO CAPS GO! 

The Caps were in Pittsburgh for a 7:30 meeting with the Pens last night. I’ve heard that Sidney Crosby has a high ankle sprain and could be out for quite some time. “Sid The Kid” is a big part of the Penguins and they haven’t had a lot of time to work a system without him, so I was hoping that the Capitals would have an easier go if it. Pittsburgh has a good core of guys and I was impressed with their play. The Capitals did beat the Pens in a shoot-out, so 2 more points go to DC. Good luck to Sidney Crosby. Those darn high-ankle sprains tend to linger on and on and on and on.

Even though the Caps came out with another 2 points, I have to think that behind the scenes, someone gave Poti and Erskine a bit of a hard time. TWO penalties in overtime! That is a big-old no-no and Poti and Erskine should be kissing the penalty killers butts right about now. While the Caps may have won the game, the play wasn’t exactly great on Erskine’s part and I think that all the defensive folks in the organization need to get together and check out some tapes (or whatever the media is nowadays). There is a pattern that has made itself very, very visible to me and if I can see it, so can other teams. I’ll just say that Kolzig watches the puck, the defenders watch the puck, but who’s watching the far side offender. Sometimes, watching a man is more important than watching the puck. The next time the D’s out on the ice, and they are in their own end, perhaps they should be thinking “who’s my man!” It’s happened over and over again and it shouldn’t. But – the good news is, the Caps still pulled it out and are staying strong on the path to a playoff spot. GO CAPS! GO OLIE!

It should be fairly clear that I’m a full-on “hockey-snob”, as I’ve been called several times in my life. However, I do know about other sports and sometimes I’ll even spend time watching another sport! I know – it’s hard to imagine and I don’t usually advertise that fact, but I did watch the NFC and AFC playoffs yesterday. So it looks as though the Pats and the Giants are headed to the Superbowl this year. I know a very dedicated Pats fan, so I know more about New England than I do about the Giants. The Patriots have a full-season undefeated record, so I’m taking a guess that the Giants will have their work cut-out for them. It promises to be a great game. But, um, don’t tell anyone I said so, ’cause, you know, Football isn’t hockey and I’m a hockey-snob!  🙂

I have to make a confession in regard to my big plan to make it to DC last Thursday to see the Capitals play the Oilers. As most return readers probably know, I have a season ticket for Capitals games. I live all the way out in Harford County, MD; a place I like to call to call the Great Hockey Void or The Center of a Hockey Black Hole. I complain and moan and groan about living in the center of a Hockey Black Hole, but I do my best to reverse the affects of the Black Hole and it certainly doesn’t make me any less of a hockey fan. This season, I’ve been dealing with some serious health problems that prohibit me from all sorts of normal, everyday activities – including driving to DC to attend the games at the Verizon Center. I’ve been pretty emotionally steady if I am unable to make the trip to see the Caps play so far. Thursday, on the other hand, was a competely different story.

When I purchased my season ticket in the middle of the Summer ‘o7, I had been told by more than a couple of doctors that my body was failing on me in a very quick manner and if certain things couldn’t be changed, I’d most likely not be around to see the playoffs. Knowing myself as I do, I figured I’d be stubborn enough to make it through the playoffs, but I also knew how I felt, so I decided that I would put most of my energy into THIS season, because I couldn’t trick myself into thinking that I had high chances of making it to the ’08-’09 season. My thoughts on the topic basically boil down to this – any hockey season I get to experience after this one is a pure blessing. So, having typed all of that, I spent a good bit of time chosing games that I specifically planned to attend in DC. I realized very early-on in the season that I wasn’t going to be able to make all 41 home games. There are/were a few games that I was whole-heartedly planning to attend.

I always attend the 1st and last regular season home game, so I’m half complete as far as those two are concerned. I also always attend the New Years Day game, which I did this year as well. I specifically wanted to see the Avalanche and the Oilers play the Capitals, because Western Conference games are uncommon and both teams have not been to Washington DC in quite some time. I made it to the Avalanche game, but barely. Last Thursday, I awoke to the thought that I’d be in DC in the evening to see the Caps take on the Oliers. I showered and counted all of my change to be sure I had enough for I-95 tolls. I got my ticket, my Kolzig Jersey and my walking cane all gathered together. Then, the snow started falling.

I wasn’t really worried about the snow, at first. I’ve driven all over the country in all sorts of vehicles, in all sorts of weather conditions, so a little snow wasn’t a big problem for me. I then realized that my toll quarters would have to be spent on milk. I can only drink three things, milk, coffee and water. I drink about a gallon of milk a day and it’s an important part of my daily diet, so the toll money became milk money. That meant I’d have to go around the toll, which would add time and traffic to my trip. I went to the store to buy my milk and my vehicle (I named it Fritzy – after my dad, because it’s old and beat-up, but it just keeps on going) stalled out twice. It was clear at that point that Fritzy was having a bad day. Soon after I returned home I started feeling “sick-belly”. I think I get “sick-belly” from my medications from time to time and I haven’t yet found a way to ease my nausea when that happens.

Since I equate the area in which I live to a Hockey Black Hole, I’ll use 3pm as my “event horizon” or point of “go or no go”. The snow was still falling, the 695 traffic was going to be a bear and Fritzy was having a bad day, and I was fighting “sick-belly”, so I struggled with my decision for a few minutes, then finally gave in to the facts. I took my shoes off and settled on the couch. No trip to DC for me. It was at that point, all sorts of thoughts flooded into my head and took over.

Wham, I got hit with a really heavy set of realizations that I had previously pushed aside. Unfortunately, all those things will surface, or re-surface, eventually. There I was, looking around at the same walls I’ve been looking at day in and day out for months and months. Unlike many other people, I do not have too many problems being in solitude. It doesn’t even bother me being inside all day for days on end. The biggest problem for me is the reason I am sequestered from most of society at this juncture. If I were a stay at home mother, or even wife, it would make sense. If I were in a biosphere or a space station doing a job, that would make sense. If I were contagious and needed to be in isolation, it would make sense. I don’t have a rational explanation for some of my health issues, so the scientist in me is strained and searching. The tears started welling on my lower lid and the harder I tried to hold them back, the more they pressed forward.

I sat for several hours with little streams of tears just trying to get all the “things” I pushed aside out. For the most part, I was just plain sad to be missing out on a game I had planned to attend. In my head, it was just a simple drive to DC and prior to this hockey season, I could have made it to the game come rain, snow, sleet, hail, no legs, no eyes, no money – no matter what. I started remembering all of the numerous road-trips I’ve taken. Some of them in crappy vehicles. Many of them in terrible weather conditions. Some that took hours upon of hours of driving without sleeping, sometimes not even stopping. It all just crashed in on me – the idea that I couldn’t even make a 64 mile trip to enjoy my favorite thing. Even two years ago, I could have done a 128 mile round trip practically standing on my head, so to speak.

The money issue filtered in as well. I haven’t been this strapped for cash since I was about 15 years old, and even then I probably could have done a side job or begged my parents for FOUR FREAKIN’ BUCKS for toll money. It’s one thing to say “I can’t afford” this or that, or to say “I don’t have any money on me”, but to actually have nothing and no prospect of getting anything is a completely different story. Then I got hit with the whole “I don’t have a family” thing. While I know I’m not the only person without a family at all, almost everything in the media and the common thought of the average American is geared toward family. It’s rare to run across someone who is 35 and has not one single family member somewhere. “Well, here I am,” I thought to myself. It happens.

It was quite a day. I know that people see me limping around with my cane and they stare. People ask me what happened and I don’t have a short or understandable answer for that question. I usually just say I’m sick, but that usually leaves more questions than answers. Sometimes, when someone with children ask me about my cane, or broken finger, or my fracture boot (when I was wearing it – on either foot) and I say I’ve been sick, they actually round up their children and pull them as far away from me as they can. Yeah, I’m not scarey people. People are afraid of me because I’m smart. People are afraid of me because I’m not a stringy, mousey little woman who follows a “normal” set of conditioned female stereotypes. People get mad, even enraged, when I am right about something. All kinds of little thoughts that I usually ignore in order to just get on with being me came up in my head and totally took me under for a while.

Normally, I would have thought that I was just feeling sorry for myself. Of course, I was. However, after I cuddled up with my soft, warm blanket on the couch, shut my puffy little eyes and passed out for a good nap; I awoke to a purring cat and the beginning of the Caps-Oilers game. I didn’t have “sick-belly”, even after taking my evening meds. I wasn’t sad. I had actually slept – real, bonafied sleep. Plus, the game was fantastic and I don’t think I sat down for the last twenty minutes of the game.

Sometimes, I suppose it’s a good thing to go under, as it were. I’ve been mulling over the thoughts of that day since then. I know there are still many things that bother me and bring me down. I doubt I’ll stop worrying about finding some kind of financial stability, but certain feelings and thoughts that had festered prior to Thursday are no longer in my head. It’s the first time in my life I feel no guilt or weakness in “feeling” sorry for myself. Maybe someone else out there who might stumble upon this entry will find it healthy to “feel” sorry for themselves for a bit. 

Anyway, I do have a new address and I’ll be moving the first week of February. I got the news from the cardiologist that I can get on airplanes and do whatever activities the rest of my body will allow. That is the news I’ve been waiting to hear. I am one person away from a full board of directors for First Love Animal Services. I was able to sell some items from my house that aren’t necessities, so I have gas, food and TOLL money to last until my home settles. Things seem so much better than they did, even last week. Thankfully, the Capitals are also improving as they go! HOCKEY ROCKS!

Something else that has happened in my world recently brought me to the conclusion that I won’t marry for health insurance, but I might marry for Canadian citizenship. There is a person who I knew about 17 years ago or so, and he and I ran into each other again when I moved back into the Great Hockey Void last year. He’s twice divorced now and has three great kids. He’s got a good sense of humor and we can get along just fine. He’s offered to marry me so that I can have health insurance. I’m sure there’s a certain part of him that wouldn’t mind a second parent around for his children. I love kids and that’s not a problem for me. However, I discovered that he went and got all of the information that is in my public record, including court issues, driving records and several other things. He told me that he had done it and that I had been honest with him about everything I had said to him.

I don’t know about you, but that little tid-bit of information really, really disappointed me and then slowly crept up and just plain pissed me off to no end. Yup, the one thing I do not hide is the truth of my life, even if it’s ugly. I could care less if he’d been screwed that last two times he’d been married, taking the time to check into my public record means that he’s got serious trust issues. Not to mention a severe lack of understanding that I would not lie about the things he was attempting to discover. Obviously, he wasted his time – I told him the truth from the start. With this information, the idea that I’d be permanently settling in the Black Hole of Hockey that I like to call the Great Hockey Void, the fact that I am not particularly attracted to this person and the notion that marrying someone just so that I can have a good health insurance policy seems absolutey silly to even consider. However, it did make me think.

Would I marry for something other than just love? I thought about that for a good long time. So let’s see – people marry for money. I suppose, there might be a very, very slim chance that I would marry for money, but not if I had to give certain things that are “me” – especially hockey. No way, no how. I’ve heard that some people marry for a place to live. Yup, I’m not anywhere near that desperate yet and the hockey rule still stands, so that seems highly unlikley. I’m not inclined to marry for health insurance at this point, the hockey rule applies here as well, and most states have some sort of medicaid program. Well, I came to the conclusion that I should eventually make my way somewhere that is colder, rather than warmer, meaning North. I should also eventually make my way somewhere that is filled with hockey lovers, meaning Canada. So, I might marry for Canadian citizenship, but that’s about it. It’s interesting what one will think about when one has to hang around the house all day!

Happy hockey to you all – go buy a musical instrument and give it to a child – Goalies rule and you know it! – peace – mia

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