I've been trying to decide what about the NHL lockout makes me the angriest or most depressed and I can't figure it out.
There's obviously the fact that I can't watch my favourite players play my favourite game-that it's not on my TV almost every night, that's it's not being played at the arena located a 13-minute drive from my place or the ones located a 6-hour flight from my place, that it's just not happening, period.
But then there's everything else.
- There are the CBA "negotiations" themselves. All the lawyers that I know (and I know way too many, which means I know more than one) keep telling me this is how negotiations go when this much business is at stake. They obviously know more than I do and better than I do but everything we're hearing and learning about the negotiations makes me feel like it's all counterproductive.
- There are the people I know who work for the NHL or its teams. I don't care how many studies you do about the impact of a sports team on the local economy or lack thereof, these are my friends, and the situation they're currently in is objectively shitty. I have a lot of respect and admiration for all of them because they haven't been complaining and they're trying to make the best of something that really sucks.
- There are the constant updates about the nongoing negotiations. It's like every day, one of the representatives from each side emails the media to let them know they'll be "touching base" that day and then they probably phone each other and talk for 20 seconds to decide the next time they're going to email the media to tell them they'll be calling each other that day and lather, rinse, repeat, until you have no hair left. Because you've torn it all out. The worst thing is I now constantly use the phrase "let's touch base" in my everyday conversations and I want to punch myself in the face every single time.
- There are the people that keep telling me it's possible to be satisfied with hockey played at a lower level. No it isn't. They are all wrong. It's just not, and I know because I even drove across the border and then some to see it one time. There is a lot to be said for minor and junior and recreational hockey (and I do enjoy watching it), but for the last time, it is not a replacement. Telling me I could be satisfied with AHL or OHL hockey when I'm missing NHL hockey is like trying to force-feed me a rice cake when I asked for a steak. I really wish those people would keep their rice cakes to themselves. And their erroneous opinions, too.
- There's all the arguing. Not that we were all sunshine and cupcakes to begin with but the internet (and real life) is full of grumpy people who hate the world right now (like me!) and we're all being intolerable jackasses. About everything.
- There's the fact that I'm a Montreal Canadiens fan. The general consensus seems to be that Geoff Molson is just not that into the lockout, kind of like I'm just not that into like Brad Marchand or Milan Lucic. Now, I don't know if that's been true all along or if it's ever been true at all, but the latest interview Dave Stubbs did with him indicates that he'd rather be playing. It's hard not to be especially bitter that my team's owner likely wants to be playing and my team's players definitely want to be playing and yet I can't have what I want.
- There are the people who jumped the bandwagon last year and the bunch of them that may have stuck around if it weren't for the lockout. I don't care what you say, new fans are awesome and it's even more awesome when they stay fans and the NHL losing them is bad for all of us.
- There's the hit my social skills are taking. No, really, and stop laughing. I'm really bad with new people unless I'm talking about sports. And in this city, you can generally talk to anyone about hockey, even the people who don't like hockey, because this is Montreal and you just kind of know about the hockey. So now there's nothing to talk about with new people, which means anyone who's met me since like maybe June probably thinks I'm a complete jerk.
- There are the people who I would have bet on always being diehard fans who are now being turned off the game. And I believe them. It's breaking my heart to hear people who grew up watching hockey and who now have young children say, "you know what, I always thought that when I had kids I would want to share the same experiences with them that I had as a kid, but this league is such a joke and disgusts me so much that I just can't be excited about that idea anymore."