Jane's Space

Jane's news and thoughts.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

June 5, 2007

Hockey in Ottawa in June

“Oh, somewhere in this favoured land the sun is shining bright,
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light;
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout,
But there is no joy in Mudville—mighty Casey has struck out.”

Casey at the Bat. Written by Ernest Lawrence Thayer.

Today couldn’t be more grey. If it weren’t for the green waving trees, and the soggy bedraggled flowers, it could be November or February. I just know it's pathetic fallacy. Ottawa has been a joyous place to be lately, as the Senators make their run for the Stanley Cup. Today the series stands at 3-1, Anaheim.
I honestly can’t believe that I haven’t missed a playoff game. I know you don’t believe it either. I just love Chris Neil’s toothless smile and frantic energy and Mike Fisher’s valiant lightning effort. And Alfredsson’s dogged speed and heart. Their seeming indefatigability.

For those of you not living here now, everything is red in Ottawa. Across the road, three little boys dance around in huge Sens sweaters every evening, holding signs and yelling, “honk if you love the Sens”, and Maitland becomes a chaos of honking horns. Flags, sometimes four, hang off car windows. I have mine on, thanks to Glenn! Even the tire store has a sign, “duck-hunting season.” Signs are everywhere –flags, jerseys, t-shirts, on homes, lawns, businesses, cars, street corners – and before, during and after each game, Elgin Street is stuffed with thousands of red-clad Ottawans, as is Scotiabank Place – inside and outside. In the rain. Painted heads, faces, bare legs under red togas, chests and heads covered with shields and cups - and the screaming, honking exhilaration from five-year olds to ninety-year olds – I feel I am at an Ottawa improv final.

It was watching my grandson start to acquire hockey skills that made me a fan. Seeing wee boys fall on the ice constantly, for no apparent reason, and slide into the net every time they tried to make a goal made me aware of the skills of the professionals. Watching a game at Scotiabank Place from a box let me actually see patterns and planning. Who knew! I thought hockey was just smashing! I have talked to so many friends who are new fans, who credit the new rules for their involvement. THAT’s why we get to see such fast impressive skills now. Except of course, when we watch Anaheim, whose filthy tactics are amazing to me, as Senators are constantly smashed once more for good measure when they have been knocked down already.

“A hard call” “a tough decision” “ a courageous move”: Suspending Pronger. What incredible BS. A repeat offender. A huge bully. He should have been suspended for the rest of the series. At least.
Listening to Don Cherry with his NBC goons, I mean commentators, last night, this is what I heard: “Fans want violence.” “Fighting is the most honorable part of hockey.” Somebody should put those old boys out of our misery. Also this one, the old-time, needs-a-consciousness-raiser, (or a brain implant) CBC commentator, Neale: “ Do they? Does Dolly Parton lie on her back?”

I actually don’t care whether the Senators win the Stanley Cup. They have shown fantastic skill and class, over and over again, and have brought joy and pride and camaraderie to this whole city, and I think to many more as well. Good job!! Mind you, the celebrations, had we won, would have been overwhelming, no doubt about that. There was a thought to march the Cup back to the Governor-Generals’ residence, whence it came. Now, there’s poetry!

And, there still could be three games to go—maybe the Sens will win tomorrow, on the soggy ice of Anaheim!


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