Posts Tagged ‘hockey’

Premature Exit

6 May 2010

Dear J-

Well, if you want a post-mortem, that may have to wait until later tonight, but the hockey season appears to be nearly done for the Red Wings (with my Chiefs bowing out of the first round of the WHL playoffs), down 0-3 to the Sharks. These deficits have been overcome before, but I’m not holding my breath — I’ve been coming to terms with it ever sincce I read the score on Wednesday morning. I’m not going to espouse the tinfoil hat-theories like fellow fans (but I suppose it’s oddly appropriate for Sharks to dive; having playoff games decided in press conferences is despicable but necessary in today’s NHL), but I will say this: these are tired folks — they’ve played as many games as anyone the past two seasons (the Penguins being the other) and as everyone is so fond of saying, they are an old team.

Even though Chris Chelios finally retired after 452 years in the NHL (what, you never saw him play defense against “Rocket” Richard?) that’s only dropped the average age by a fraction; Nicklas Lidstrom, who I remember as a fresh-faced rookie, just turned forty. Yes, the old jokes never get old (“Your team’s so old, they decided to make the colors red and grey”), so let’s think up a few more to throw around as excuses. Yet there’s truth in the adage that age is just a number: attitude dictates ability, and I’m not seeing the same desire out there on the ice. Penguins, yes. Wings, no. Same number of games, different results.

I work with another fan, and in comparing notes, I admitted that I’m almost looking forward to seeing them knocked out; she had told me what a great match Game 7 Habs-Caps turned out to be, helped by her just watching without worry. I suspect that’s why I’m looking forward to the World Cup later this summer — with no real dog in the fight, it’s instructive to watch the spectacle and contest without having an inherent bias. I know how that sounds — “man I wish they weren’t playing four single-elimination games” — but each of those four games would be ones I couldn’t stand to watch anyway; I want to get back to enjoying the sport.

Mike

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Union Union

15 April 2009

Dear J-

News today includes the disappointment that the Chiefs won’t return to the Memorial Cup — they fell to the regular season champion Vancouver Giants, who’ll contest the West Division championship with the Kelowna Rockets, who upset the Tri-City Americans. This puts all the American teams out of the running, not that I would have rooted for Tri-Cities (they would regularly upset our high school sports teams when statewide playoffs started). Instead I’m casting my eyes east to watch the Windsor Spitfires as they continue through the OHL playoffs.

Closer to home now, the San Diego Unified School District has decided to pull the layoff option off the table, and are in the process of rescinding those notices. One trustee, Katherine Nakamura, states that she’d rather keep that alternative open, possibly favoring other programs such as busing for magnet schools, music education, etc. It’s hard to argue with that, but I submit that our teachers deserve more than vague promises of having a career to return to. You have to be passionate about teaching in order to pursue it, and to reward that passion with a pink slip has to dull it.

The Union-Tribune would have you believe that it’s the powerful teachers’ union that parasitically sucks from students, teachers, and taxes indiscriminately, but the U-T has never been about defending unions in general. With the typical kind of budget balancing so prevalent today — lose employees, or lose programs — unions are starting to make more sense, not less. There’s a special kind of language that seems to be reserved specifically for unions: powerful, concessions, archaic. Yet corporations, despite having similar advantages in size, money, and political power, have skated by without pejoratives.

Mike

First Fall

22 September 2008

Dear J-

The equinox brings us one day closer to a new season of hockey, but other than the turning of the calendar, there’s little external change out here.  Ventilating the house at night doesn’t take on quite the same urgency, and I may have to break out long pants on the weekend one of these days.  The greenery doesn’t change colors as quickly or dramatically (that large tree in front of our house seems to turn leaves from green to brown on the way off the tree; it’s an odd juxtaposition, a green tree with sere ground cover); palm trees and eucalyptus never can decide to stop being green.  Even our rainy season isn’t all that rainy.

We’ll be going up into the mountains on vacation in another few weeks; though career issues seem far from being resolved, it’s clear I can’t continue without taking some sort of break from being surly and unhelpful; the more things pile up the more paralyzed I feel without knowing where to turn first.  It’s funny, the things I choose to reward myself with are often the same things — camera gear, video games — I can’t afford the time to play with.

And yet just half an hour after hitting the road I’m able to get my head put back together; it’s remarkable how well-sorted I can be without having to deal with simultaneously prioritized tasks.  Still on various to-do lists:  trade camera gear for more gear, replace that kitchen faucet (now looking shabbier and more disreputable by the moment), set up a MythTV box or two, continue to slowly empty the house of junk and stuff.  Written down, it looks like it’s simple enough to divide and conquer, right?

Mike

Little Professor

19 November 2006

Dear J-

Sometimes I wonder about how much I really could have known way back yesteryear, when I spouted off regularly on such various topics as WWI-era Dreadnoughts, Star Trek (embarassing myself last night, having recited some details of Amok Time to a half-asleep theVet — I got the priestess’s name right, but not the betrothed), and hockey (hey, Spokane is close enough to Canada to count, and the Chiefs did win the Memorial Cup around the time I graduated). TheVet often tells me that I slip into an unconscious lecture mode; I think it’s a habit that I picked up from my dad and also from debate (thankfully, the only other lasting debate aftereffect has been a predilection for Phoenix Wright games). It makes me wonder (with a fair amount of dread) what kind of horrible influence I’m going to pump down to the next generation, and if they’re doomed to the same corduroy-wearing factoid-spewing fate.

No secret, theVet is pregnant. We are with child, in gentler terms. But that was the easy part — six months from now, how do I suppress the urge to cram the sum total of human knowledge into an unsuspecting infant, how I do know I’m doing right by the child, how do I blend the same measure of steely discipline and self-esteem needed for this world? Here’s a shiny new life, now just make sure you don’t mess it up for them. Agh, the responsibility.

I know I’ll be able to associate answers with questions, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I have the answers. We’ll muddle through together, unborn fetus, theVet, and I; we’ll learn together and as much as I know I’m going to be able to teach you, I already can’t wait to learn more from you. So hurry up already and stop making your mom nauseous and tired (and some sort of amazing ravenous eating machine) so we can meetcha. I want you to know as much happiness in your life as I’ve known in mine; I want to watch you laugh, watching me with bright curious eyes; I want to lead you to the same castles and pyramids and knights and emperors to see the new blooming bright every day. I already know you’ll be wonderful.

J-, I want you to meet baby nemo, and don’t tell me you’re too busy or don’t know the way. Anyone who can sit through Scent of Green Papaya (will he pee into the pot or not?) can spare a few moments to meet someone completely new.

Mike