Saturday, February 13, 2010

Evolution


Here's a funny thing. Just over four years ago I started this blog. In my first post I said:

Stay tuned for musings on nearing 40, life with a wife, two kids (how did that happen!?) and Satan's Foreign Minister (our dog), the exciting times we live in, pubs I've known and loved, Guinness and the Edmonton Oilers, among other things.

After a couple of weeks of posting, mostly very short huzzahs for our successes in Torino at the time (post number twelve was for Jennifer Heil, the first Canadian gold of that Games), I started writing about the Oilers exclusively, inspired by LT, Hugh and Matt, Chris, Mike and Dave, Vic, Rivers, Speeds and Dennis, Ty, Colby Cosh, Loxy, Andy Grabia, James Mirtle.

I had always loved hockey and I had always loved writing but perusals of my early posts make me cringe. Poorly written overwrought attempts at analysis ... irk.

Over the next four months we went on a crazy ride. Times were weirdly different then. I remember the night that the Oilers clinched a playoff spot. I logged onto LT's site and commented, I was beside myself with excitement. Some minutes later, LT replied.

Other than that it was crickets and tumbleweeds.

The Sphere took off after that though, right through that glorious playoff run. If you ever have time to kill go back into the archives and check it out. Last month I logged onto IOF and read the very earliest stuff. Vic's first explanation of Corsi, Dennis' stream of consciousness live blogs on a Saturday night of action, great stuff from Riv and Speeds during the playoffs. Its killer shit.

And the same could be said about all of the Sphere at that time. It was a small community - six sites and then Colby, Loxy and Andy posting about the Oilers as well as other matters on their own sites. And of course Mirtle on his general hockey site. Check it out if you like good writing. Check it out if you want to remember when the Oilers were good. Check it out if you need proof that guys like Tyler and Vic aren't the cynics that everyone makes them out to be. That winter they were the ones proclaiming that the Oilers had the goods if they could only get goaltending. And guess what, they were right, as they usually are.

As for me, well if we were the original six Oiler sites then I was Chicago, poorly run and at the mercy of the big boys. Think the Oilers now as a comparison. I learned from the best though and this corner of the Interweb is a poorer one with so many of them no longer writing. So goes life I guess. Things change. We grow older. Interest rates fluctuate. Clothing goes out of style ... remember desert boots? Probably not.

Of course the ironic thing is that after a few years of writing about the Oilers exclusively I've gone back to that original idea. Now I've passed forty and there are three kids instead of two and the list of pubs and adventures has grown and I'm still wondering how the hell its all happened. I guess, as Robbie Robertson said, the wind just kind of pushed me this way.

Here we are, Olympic time again. I'll likely post a couple of times about the Games. I love them, I'm not embarassed to say. I'll tear up numerous times over these next couple of weeks just as I did last night watching the opening ceremonies. Hopefully there will be much glory for Canada and our wonderful young athletes.

As for the Oilers, well I'm glad for the break. Since those early heady days its been a long slow painful decline and at times its difficult to muster enthusiasm for an organization that seems to have taken its eye off of the ball.

12 comments:

Lindsay said...

I would love some Canada posts. I started reading your blog this summer and think your mix of writing topics/writing is great.

Lindsay said...

I meant Olympics posts....Olympic posts, Canada posts...same thing.

andy grabia said...

Great post, Pat. Thanks.

Ribs said...

I remember pre-'06 I was posting a lot at the Oilers site and I felt pretty alone there for a long time. There were a few good posters and they all seemed to migrate to the blogosphere or the HF boards with me over time. I never could get into the HF boards, myself. Too many voices for me but I feel like I missed out on some good stuff there.

Nowadays, we have excellent blogs like this one to read and comment at and it really is something special. There's something about them that filters out most of the junk and we're left with just the good stuff. I've learned so much from you guys and I'm very thankful. I really hope the little community of posters we have lives on for many years to come.

Baroque said...

Just don't you FUCKING DARE stop writing. About whatever.

Black Dog said...

Baroque - no worries, not planning on stopping anytime soon, that's for sure.

Thank you Andy.

Black Dog said...

Lindsay - thanks for the compliment, for sure I'm going to try and put a few up about the Olympic experience and what it means, I have a few ideas, stay tuned ;)

Thanks Ribs - yeah I've never gotten into HF Boards but for me its more of a time issue, as in I don't have any.

The thing I didn't mention is that I've actually met a number of folks from this whole gang - Andy and Tyler, Chris and Mike, Alana, Colby, Mr. D., Matt Fenwick - good people, we've had a lot of fun.

Bruce said...

Well said, Baroque.

Like you, Pat, I'm an Olympics junkie. I've intently watched every Olympics, winter and summer, since 1964, which come to think of it makes these my 25th Olympics. Every one has had brilliant performances and terrific human interest stories, heartbreak and overjoy, and a moment or several of outstanding sportsmanship if not outright heroism.

Being a sentimental sap I will tear up from time to time, ever more frequently as I age. Happened several times already yesterday, what with the tragic loss of life which has already cast a pall over these Games. But the torch relay and the opening ceremonies had enough shining moments to turn the emotional tide at least somewhat. The best way to honour Nodar Kumaritashvili who died pursuing his dream, is for the remaining athletes to pursue theirs.

Baroque said...

I want to apologize for my language - I blame the corrupting influence of too much internet hockey talk. ;)

Bruce said...

No worries. Sometimes - as in this instance - things need to be said with emphasis.

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