Thursday, September 11, 2008
Reading Fever Pitch again. I have a decent little library and I do my best to reread what I have when I can but as a general rule its a few years between reads for most of it. A few exceptions - a couple of hockey antholgies (Riding On The Roar of The Crowd), short story collections, especially the Hemingway stuff, a Michael Collins biography ...
Fever Pitch I read every year. Brilliant stuff and as I have become more of a soccer fan over the years I have come to enjoy it even more. Today on the subway read a section where Hornby talks about how a year to him is not January 1st to December 31st but rather from August (season begins) to May (season ends).
Until I left home to come to Toronto for school I had the traditional view of what constituted a year. University changed that. Life began to revolve around two times - September and April. Other then the long beautiful summers these were my two favourite times of year.
September marked the end of summer and the return to school and Toronto. Hockey training camps opened and the NFL season began. Baseball pennant races came to a head and then the playoffs and World Series followed. Summer flings ended and new possibilities arose. And I was a terrible student so September generally began eight months of heavy drinking, spending the money I earned the previous summer (I had a terrific summer job and put myself through five years of university on the back of it) and finding different ways to avoid going to class.
April, on the other hand, was welcomed for different reasons. School, such as it was, was ending and the annual scramble to write papers and exams and try to eke out a C in course after course barely attended would always test ones ingenuity. Hockey season ended and the playoffs began. And it began to get warm. Opening day would arrive and the promise of summer with it. I remember many days spent on patios putting off the inevitable paying of the piper.
I spent a number of years after school putting off the reality of adulthood but the rhythm of school never really left me. In my life the Tuesday after Labour Day is New Year's Day and as I get older I find this impulse has become stronger rather then weaker. I take the majority of my vacation over the summer and the pace at work and in the city slows through July and August. My oldest daughter started her second year of school this year and so of course the cycle has begun again. My own winter hockey season is starting this weekend after a month off of the ice. And while baseball no longer holds as much sway over me as it once did I still follow the pennant races and watch the playoffs when I can. The NFL bores me now but soccer has replaced it and September marks the beginning of the season and tournaments in England and in Europe.
And of course there is hockey. While I have read terrific posts like this, this and this and of course LT and Jonathan Willis have provided their usual quality shit I frankly wish they'd just get on with it and drop the fucking puck already. I'm ready for some hockey. I like the stats and what they tell me but every thread this summer seems to turn into a schoolyard brawl with the lack of respect, name calling and snotty noses one might expect from a bunch of five year olds.
Similar stuff going on over at Lowetide's where any post he makes brings on a tide of mockery and negativity, as commenters slag the blogger and each other with an astounding lack of civility.
Truly amazing. Things have changed and not for the better I am afraid.
So bring on the New Year and with it the Oilers. I can't wait to see if the kids can pick up where they left off, if Penner's improved conditioning helps him become the player we hope he can be. I want to see Horcoff back in uniform, doing the things that have established him as a top centre int his league. I want to see Hemsky continue to grow into a star, to see Gilbert play the game so beautifully, with smarts and skill. I look forward to Cole's and Visnovsky's debuts and the grit of Staios and the underrated, forever underrated, Fernando Pisani who plays hockey the way it is meant to be played. Will Brodziak take a bigger role? Will Pouliot or Jacques or *gasp* both establish themselves as bonafide NHLers? Can Souray and Moreau make it out of camp in one piece?
New Year's Day is funny. Its all about expectations really. Two years ago we were on a high and the ensuing disaster was crushing. A year ago we expected the worst and the modest successes of our club brought everyone to their feet. This year expectations are mixed.
I think a healthy Oilers' team will be in the mix but it will be the years to follow which will be our years. I can't wait though. I can't wait to watch some goddamn hockey.
Posted by Black Dog at 9:49 PM