The rough patch in the relationship
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.”