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The rough patch in the relationship

March 6, 2012

At some point this morning, I realized that every single NHL game on tonight was one I would rather watch than the game featuring my own team.

The Montreal Canadiens and I have hit The Rough Patch.

The “I’d rather eat glass than come home to you” point in the relationship. The “everything you say or do is an invitation to start a fight” point in the relationship. The “hey, who’s that pretty team over there?” point in the relationship.

That’s the thing about being a fan of “ONE TEAM” and one team only. It’s like a relationship, and sometimes relationships… suck.

I’ve held up my end of the bargain. I’ve gone to way more games than the Canadiens deserve, in Montreal and elsewhere, and I’ve watched every single stinker they have laid on the ice this year on TV. I still read about them, I still talk about them, and even though I don’t subscribe to the belief that true fandom is about how much money you spend, I’m still spending money on them. I’m still the exact same fan I was this time last year, or this time every year.

The Habs, on the other hand, haven’t been easy to love these days. In fact, it’s been way easier to hate them, in that way that you can only hate something you really and truly love.

And as much as I’m ashamed to admit it, my eye has been wandering. I’ve become one of those people who cheers “for certain players and good stories.” I’ve always watched an obscene amount of non-Habs hockey, but now I find myself doing it with a serious rooting interest (other than the natural “BEAT THE BRUINS” rooting interest).

I cheer for the Chicago Blackhawks because I kind of like Jonathan Toews a little*. I cheer for LA because I love Drew Doughty. I cheer for the New York Rangers because Henrik Lundqvist is impossible, and also out of loyalty to therangersfan. The Philadelphia Flyers have always been my Olivier Martinez in Unfaithful (except instead of getting Richard Gered they’re going to get Ilya Bryzgaloved) and I can’t stay away. I want The Tampa Bay Lightning to crawl into the playoffs. I want Alex Ovechkin to shoot more. I want Sidney Crosby to hurry up and come back. My obssession with the city of Detroit has carried over to their sports teams, too.

My Habs are like the sad afterthought I come home to after I’ve been out to dinner with interesting stories. Stupid Dan Girardi. (Or bad boys. Stupid Flyers.)

But don’t worry. We’ll be just fine. Eventually.

Sooner or later, the Canadiens will realize that they need to make a better effort in this relationship. They’ll make some changes and try to go back to the way things once were. And I’ll be sorry I even glanced at the stupid St. Louis Blues. I’ll realize that may I have a bit of work to do, too. I’ll stop saying the awful, awful things I now say about the Habs and try to be nicer. We’ll work things out.

Because when they don’t suck, relationships are really actually kind of awesome. And there ain’t no love like the one you have for your favourite hockey team.

*Where “a little” = “he’s my favourite NHL player and I’ve named my car, all future pets and half my future children after him and I will punch you if you don’t love him enough, Cam.”

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2012 2:21 pm

    I love everything about this post, except for the part where your team isn’t holding up their end of the relationship. But it really is a RELATIONSHIP isn’t it? Trust me, I know the feeling. I’m still not over the relocation/break-up from last summer, but I won’t be that whiny “oh you still have a team” person because yeah, sometimes you just want to barge into the locker room and nutpunch the entire roster. I’ve dallied with other teams too, and I think I’m thisclose to settling down with Detroit, although ours has always been a halfway closeted love and I think it works better that way.

    • theactivestick permalink*
      March 6, 2012 2:34 pm

      Halfway closeted love. I like that. And you couldn’t pick a better team, except for the Montreal Canadiens, but I get how they’re the guy who doesn’t shower right now.

      I wrote this post somewhat guilty-like, knowing that Islanders fans, Leafs fans, Edmonton fans, Columbus fans, and abandoned Atlanta Thrashers fans have it way harder than I do. The more I whine about this season, the more respect I have for all you guys.

      • March 6, 2012 2:58 pm

        Oh I had a love affair with the Canadiens back in 2009 after my first visit to Montreal. The Atlanta fans still won’t let me live it down…I bought t-shirts and even a sweater. That was the year they went from underdog to the Eastern Conference finals so it was a fun year. But Detroit…I keep coming back to those silly Red Wings (it’s totally Slava Kozlov’s fault). They’re the really good-looking, dependable guy who’s the friend you can snuggle on the couch with all platonic like, who you kind of wish you could leave the boy who doesn’t shower for, but you know Mr Dependable already has a wife and kids back home.

        Don’t feel guilty! I don’t know…some folks might tell you to but I can’t begrudge a frustrated fan her complaints. I’ve had plenty of my own.

  2. March 6, 2012 2:42 pm

    I hate to break it to you, but your relationship is a sham. I’m also seeing the Montreal Canadiens. I don’t even treat them well. I once cheated on them with the Ottawa Senators this year and acted like it wasn’t anything. So go ahead, pay for their tickets and buy their sweaters. I’ll keep using them like the whore they are.

  3. smalrus permalink
    March 6, 2012 2:46 pm

    If I use your metaphor, I’m wondering if I’m staying in it for the relationship, rather than the kids. If anything, I’ve stayed in this relationship in spite of the kids.

  4. Winkle permalink
    March 6, 2012 3:40 pm

    Ha, if you can survive this “rough patch”, especially if it drags on for awhile, you’ll know that your relationship is solid and there will never be doubts about it.

    Plus, once things pick back up again, you can rub it in the face of everyone else who was too weak to survive what you went through and can be all smug about it.

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