For most of my life I have tread cautious ground. I don’t often get into fights, verbal or physical, nor do I often grandstand and try and overpower other people with my beliefs. At the end of the day if it’s easier for me to just bite my tongue rather than get involved in a lengthy squabble, I would rather take the quiet route. I can do this mostly because if there was an emotional scale from 1-10, I would be near the 1 part of the scale. While others have their emotions take control of them, I shut mine down. I’m like Mario wearing a tanooki suit, turning to stone when emotions threaten to overwhelm me.
It’s not that I don’t have feelings, it’s just that while growing up emotions were used as weapons in my house, which meant in order to not have them turned against me, I had to learn to shut my emotions down. As a result, people who are more emotional, if I can take an emotional bullet for them, I’ll do it, because I am good at doing so.
Why have I offered up this random glimpse into my mind you never asked for? I only do it to offer up context for the “transcendence” moment in sports I referenced in my title of this blog.
During sports, there comes a special moment where my mind shuts down and all thoughts cease in my brain. I stop worrying if that e-mail I sent to a co-worker was too strongly worded. I stop wondering what that look my sister gave to me last Christmas meant (Did she hate her present??) I basically stop over thinking everything like I normally do and all that takes over is sweet, sweet pure emotion.
It usually has three different forms:
Nervousness – Canucks are tied in a playoff game, late in the third period sort of situation. This is often characterized by me slumping back in my seat as if I am trying to physically dodge any incoming disappointments. “If I slump to the left, surely that impending loss will miss me over my right shoulder.”
Anger – Canucks have blown it, or the refs have made a terrible call. This is characterized by me swearing. A lot.
Happiness – Pure pure happiness. Like when Bieksa put the Canucks into the Finals in 2011. Oddly enough this is also characterized by me swearing. A lot.
While any of these three are a nice break from my mind, happiness is obviously the best one. I still remember to this day when Todd Bertuzzi put the Canucks up 2-0 against Minnesota in game 7 of the 2003 playoffs. Being a Canucks fan, I assumed the Canucks would find a way to blow it (don’t worry, they did), and when Todd put the Canucks up 2-0 it was like part of my brain thought that was enough and I just gave into the emotion and began cheering like a mad man. At this point I began screaming a string of obscenities directed towards Minnesota and I still don’t know why I did it. It went something like this:
“**** YOU MINNIE YOU ****ING PIECES OF *****, ****** SUCK ON MY ******* ******, YOU *****”
I don’t know if I was so nervous about the game that when Bert put Vancouver up 2-0 it unleashed a flood of pent up emotions, but whatever it was, it was fun to do because I didn’t think for one second about what I was doing, I just enjoyed the moment.
Fast forward to the year 2013, and I have found myself in an odd spot. Canucks games, normally a spot where I could unleash my emotions at will, has now become yet another awkward family dinner event for me, in the sense that when I watch games in the press box, I have to control and watch EVERYTHING I do. This isn’t just emotions, I have to be on my best behavior for saying hi to people, for talking to people, to everything. Getting popcorn has become an ordeal as I make sure to let everyone go first, then I only take around three or four scoops lest people think the “blogger” is being greedy.
Odds are I am being overly cautious, but I do this because as a “lowly blogger” I know I am in an unstable position to say the least (during one hilaaaaaarious exchange I was once told to be quiet in press row because I was “no longer in [my] moms basement.” I rarely talk in press row, so that was kind of a fun one.) Bloggers were just getting media access last year, so if I do something to screw it up, not only could I lose my access, but I could screw it up for other bloggers by giving us a bad name, so I make sure I try my best to represent the bloggers with professionalism and class. Not that I have a problem being professional, mind you, it just means I have now taken away one of the most therapeutic emotional moments in my life.
This means for the last two seasons I have been muting my emotions in the press box. I’m sorry, but I love hockey, and it is hard for me not to go “HOLY SHIT!” when a big hit is landed or a nice move is made. As I have said before, I am quite confident in my ability to scream “GOOD GOD, DIRTY DANGLES” and then write an article about it in a non biased way 10 minutes later, but in press row I do as the Romans do, and I keep quiet and pretend to hate hockey like everybody else.
As a result, I don’t find myself enjoying hockey the same way. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing about hockey, and I love the access to the locker room, and there are a ton of good people I have met doing this gig, but it’s a different kind of enjoyment than the therapeutic emotional enjoyment I got in the past.
Which brings me to the WWE Raw event in Seattle held this past Monday on December 9th. It was at the Key Arena and the only other non house show I had ever seen was a Raw in Vancouver many moons ago, but those were in seats up in the rafters. For this event, I was 5 rows back from the ring.
Now, as you know, I love my wrestling, and many people don’t, and that’s totally fine. I like the story lines and the athleticism of the moves, and for the few occasions that wrestling makes me hit a transcendence moment. It doesn’t happen often, but it happened at Raw this week.
For most of the show, I watched and enjoyed it. I didn’t cheer or scream, I sat politely and watched. I don’t often get carried away by wrestling as much as hockey, but the atmosphere was so loud in Seattle and being that close to the ring was so neat, that the night would have been a success regardless. TV really doesn’t do the crowds justice sometimes. Here is how it sounded during the main event promo during the last segment:
Then as the show came to a close, a scuffle in the ring began, and all of the wrestlers started hitting their finisher moves on each other, one after the other, like some weird demented human game of dominoes, and I kind of lost my mind. All of a sudden I was standing up, screaming for blood, and turning around and shouting “EVERYTHING IS HAPPENING”. I know wrestling is scripted, yet they did such a good job of telling a story that night, that my mind went blank, and my emotions took over, and there I was, 5 years old again, believing in everything, screaming and cheering like my life depended on it.
It was one of the best moments ever.
This is the beauty of sports to me. The moments where sports just take over and you forget about everything around you and you just experience the moment for what it is. I love these moments and this is the reason I will always love and continue to watch sports.
So while I might have lost hockey in that regards (though I still plan on going “as a fan” for big games), it’s nice to know that there are still some things in life that just let me enjoy the moment for what it is.
To sum up, sports are awesome.