November is a bad month in Vancouver. The clocks roll back and there you are, driving home from work in the dark and in the rain. I'm not even checking the score on my Blackberry.
I know they are losing.
I spend my days selling heavily discounted electronics to wealthy West Vancouverites - the lingering progeny of the landowner class. I won't be doing this for much longer. I want to do something where I'm helping people instead of taking advantage of people. But if I must take advantage of people, they might as well be people that haven't worked a second in their lives.
Of course, they're all gone by 4 o'clock. The store is basically empty now - sixty-plus flat screen televisions display the Canucks in Montreal. Early game. Vancouver just dominated the first half of the first period, just to let the Habs score on a Markov pinch. My coworkers are devastated by the unfathomable turn of events - is it possible the ‘Nucks could lose their first game in over two weeks?
They don't even remember what it's like.
Usually I take these opportunities to twist the knife, but against the Habs, I'd rather the Canucks win, it pains me to say. But they couldn't even do that for me. 10 years in this city have taught me, with great certainty, that as much as I hate the local team, it hates me back twice as much.
I'm almost positive they will lose to Ottawa as well...and then lay a savage beat down on the Maple Leafs on HNIC. Anything other than this result would be a complete fucking miracle.
There are a few unique experiences that you will never have to endure unless you live in City X and cheer for a team in City Y. One of them is ticker watching. The Habs are winning, but I tried to ignore that - instead I watched the ticker in the bottom right corner while pretending to work.
Every time the ticker refreshed the profanity intensified.
I still feel the sting. Every single loss. I wonder if they feel it too?
If the condition of being a die-hard hockey fan is somewhat equivalent to that of being a hockey player, in terms of commitment, adrenaline, emotional involvement, than I have been a Maple Leaf, if not physically than definitely spiritually, longer than Phil Kessel, longer than Tomas Kaberle, longer than Ron Wilson and Brian Burke.
I know that sounds absurd. I've never earned a dime from MLSE. I know as little about actually playing the game of hockey as one can know while still being a fan. I can't even skate. But it still makes me wonder - do these men, these lucky few that get to pull that sacred blue and white sweater over their eyes, that get to see the game jersey's emblem from the inside for a split second before smoothing it carefully into place over their hearts - do they feel what I feel? What we feel?
Or do they view that jersey the way I view my work uniform? Something I wear to get paid...until something better comes along. Taking advantage of as many schmucks as possible in the process.