I’m listening to Saint Low right now. Johnson City. Somehow in that narrative there is something important, something more complicated than love, and it will be lost. They are going to Johnson City, but it feels like the last time. Something’s changed; it’s heavier now. The trip is destroyed by its own significance.
The singer would probably laugh at my interpretation.
I watched hockey tonight, the electric hypnosis coming at times from different hemispheres. During the first intermission of the Sparta/Slavia (rhymes with Yankees/Mets) game, the owner of the Budvar Bar Near Home switched to Rugby. Amazingly (at least to me), one of the teams playing was one that I had seen during the calm part of new year’s eve in Ireland. The game was in its final moments, but is was close and hard-fought. I’m not sure how the players differentiated each other — they were all the color of mud.
Sport, mate. Sport.
There were times when the team with the ball was stalled, and there was a pile. Who gets the ball in such a pile is carefully regulated, but when you can’t move the ball from under the pile, you have to move the pile off the ball. It has been argued that the pads in the NFL actually increase the injury rate, and watching these guys, that’s easy to believe. When the progress of the ball is stalled and the pile is forming people will fly in, head first, smashing into the pile without regard for personal safety. We’re talking about big people, and big hits.
As far as I can tell, there are three reasons a man might fling himself at a pile like that. First, he could hope to move the pile. Second, he might take one of the other team off the pile, someone who had good leverage. Third, he might just like to crash into people, without regard for personal safety. I think to play that game there must always be a bit of reason three.
The whistle blew, the game was over, and they unpiled themselves and began shaking each other’s hands. It was an easygoing, natural sportsmanship that limits the cheap shot because you’re going to be looking those guys in the eye when the game is done, and ideally you’ll be buying each other beers down the street. That is sport.
Saint Low is now telling me that I can just walk on by, like she’s no one. I just wish I could tell her how wrong she is.
Soup Boy sent me an invitation tonight, chocolate night at some club or another. I do like chocolate, but the launch time for the festivities is about now, and I am well and truly done for the day. In fact, today is about done for the day.
Hockey. I was pulling for Slavia, the other Prague team, mainly because they weren’t Sparta, easily the Yankees (ca-ching!) of Czech hockey. It was a good game, back and forth, with both sides pulling off some of those passes that have you saying “Wha — wow!” The game went to a shootout. While I will always rail against the shootout in any team sport (reducing a contest that is supposed to be about how a group of people work together to a series of one-on-one events is a disservice to the entire sport, whether hockey, soccer, or whatever), this was an interesting one to watch. It went long, and I noticed a pattern that held. If the shooter glanced down, even for the tiniest of moments, at the puck, he missed. The shooters who never, ever took their eyes off the goalie scored and made it look easy. Nothing fancy, just smack it by the guy.
I’m pretty sure there’s not a useful life lesson there.
After that game we switched to NHL. They play on a smaller surface and at first the skaters seemed unnaturally large. In the past I’ve preferred the North American version of Hockey, but with the recent rules changes they’re caught in middle ground, no longer the hard-nosed pounding game I like, but without the room to be a game of finesse.
Johnny Cash is telling me that it’s the time of the preacher, in the year of ’01; when you think it’s all over, it’s only begun. I’m pretty sure he’s right about that.
My team, the Flames, they still play old-school hockey. (Incidentally, this means they’re doomed.) That is only secondary to why I am a Flames fan; it would be more accurate to say that I am a Flames-fan fan. I’ve already documented it in these pages, no sense in digging up old laundry and all that, but never before and never since have I seen a row of pretty girls neglecting their jobs because they simply could not tear their eyes away from the hockey game.
I wonder what apartments go for in Canmore.
I only had the one Johnny Cash song handy, now Nick Cave is singing about a woman with a dead man in her bed. I’m pretty sure she’s not referring to me. She’s never met me.
There are times, looking out at the city at night, at all the lights, the sound and the motion; it seems busy but for all that there are no people. My window is just another sparkle.