Habs Success Responsible For Fan Delusion
Call this a text paper or a couch session in three parts on the pitfalls of sports fanaticism.
Confession: I Am A Delusional Habs Fan
How to deal with extreme hope
Part 1 - self reflection and discovery
I always knew of my obsessive tendencies. You know that, and laugh with me on it, please, as I have to laugh myself. I am well acquainted with my compulsions as they've been my companions forever. You've likely known a manic depressive, I'm a manic obsessive.
Today, I discovered I'm also delusional. I actually discovered it twice.
I was listening to CKAC french radio this morning, and they have been going on all week about this study that has been done on sports fans for marketing purposes. Among it's many findings, it concludes that there are three distinct types of sports fans.
The first type is the dreamer, or the romantic, which is in part a fan so in love with the game, its lore and its history, that it encompasses his whole beyond reality. It takes over a part of him/her to the point where he/she is easily lured into all hopeful scenarios involving their team. In the event of good things happening to and with their favorite team, a dream begins to unfurl, and based on past events, that dream gains unreal proportions until it either comes true, or one is crushed beyond despair.
In other words, an occasional delusional.
The second and third types, are the obessessive and the involved fan. In short, the obssessor is one who needs to know every single minute detail going. More geared toward the present tense, the obssessor seeks out every nuance of info available in order to file and filter thoughts and process their emotional state.
Hello me! Again!
The involved fan is exactly what it sounds like, which is a person who loves to play the games as much as or more than watching.
Listening to this show, only for about ten minutes this morning, I had to conclude that I am delusional.
Like a right now today delusional.
Case in point, I did not proclaim from a high mountaintop that the Canadiens would beat the Capitals in the first round because I couldn't really nail down my particular reason for thinking that. I liked the way the two clubs matched up over the regular season and I liked the Habs in the underdog role where everyone thought they'd be lucky to win a game. I don't know exactly what or why, but something told me the Capitals would win in six if they won they first game, and if the Habs took Game One they'd take the series in seven games. When the series was 3-1 for Washington, I started writing the obit here, so I'll never suggest that "I knew all along."
As things played out, the Canadiens took the series in seven and it meant squat to a prediction I may have told to all of four people. What it meant most to me was the Canadiens had some honour that I'd not seen in a Godarn long while.
All added up, there were several outsanding individual performances by players and incredible moments that were piling, rekindling memories of great seasons past.
However ridiculous, a dream, an inane, insane dream was born, and the delusion trap was sprung. Common sense....what was that again?
Logic now told me that if the Canadiens can manage to oust the regular season's top dogs, they should again do themselves proud against the Stanley Cup champions. I didn't call a win in this series, nothing remotely as specific as the last round. I was asked and replied that one of the teams would take it in six or seven.
I know, not exactly going out on a limb there by any stretch, right?
So, the why, what and how about all this delusional stuff and why I'm bringing it up, is because I lost it during last night's game, big time. I have gone into explaining my emotional and mental states because a) perhaps you are like minded and can reassure me of what I am thinkng and feeling, and b) I began having halucinations during the game, and I'm not sure what to make of it.
Part 2 - The peculiar conviction that I have indeed gone insane.
Maybe it comes from watching Jaroslav Halak multiply impossible saves against Washington and now Pittsburgh. In front of Halak is a fortress of defense, solidified by forwards displaying intense dedication as the Canadiens play as a five man unit. Despite the fact that they play in the opposite end of the rink less than a third of the time, they are giving off the illusion that they are holding their own.
They have been utlizing this mode now, for going on three weeks, and I am beginning to get the impression that when well supported, the tactic is infallible. Doses of great luck in this, have merely become a hard earned convenience.
I know that it is impractical to make sense of winning in this way, but it is making sense, and they are winning.
My analogy is that there are a dozen frantic and fearsome evil beings armed with stones, rocks and boulders, all taking aim at a valiant and defiant target. Despite that the counterattack is armed with a slingshot full of peanuts, it is judged a fair fight. The hurling of boulders is relentless at times, and made all the much more difficult by the perception that the counterattack is being penalized more often than it should be, while the side fouling the most and throwing out of turn is being virtually ignored and unpenalized for their rule divergence.
Delusional cases in point relating to the game itself.
I thought for sure I had seen Andrei Kostitsyn clotheslined by Mark Eaton, with a straightarm foul to the head that sent the Habs' player sprawling while in possession of the puck.
Alas, it was simply a case of Eaton putting to his bench, asking a trainer to have his water bottle ready for when he came off ice. Kostitsyn just skated headlong into his arm at the precisely wrong moment. Dummy me!
During a Penguins man advantage, it looked as though Sidney Crosby had tripped Roman Hamrlik as he pursued a play.
What do I know? In was simply an instance of Hamrlik trying to trap Crosby's stick between his legs as he spun, clever devil!
And what of P.K. Subban, he who trips over people in behind of him going forward?
It's that high intensified Bell Centre blue line gravity kicking in one more time.
The one that put me over the edge though, came in the first period's dying seconds, and it's why I think I am going delusional. Soon as the period ended I e-mailed both site contributors because I thought I saw what looked like Crosby put his own weight down on his stick blade in order to snap it.
I'm off my rocker, right?
I see Crosby, make an odd movement with the point of his blade. I can't really describe it, except to say it's not the norm. His legs were bent in a way that suggested pressure pushing down on the blade. I thought for sure that I also saw the shaft bend just a tad. When the blade went skittering off I thought "Bingo!", but then realized Gill had cracked down, almsot simultaneously at the same area.
I'm nuts. Certifiable. I didn't ask to notice this, and I am more than slightly peeved.
Now I know I'm delusional, and aurally now, not just visually, because no less a crackpot than a sarcastic Don Cherry himself is an ally on this.
On Hal Gill...."Poor Gill, he doesn't know what's going on!"
On Crosby...."Cause he's got a weak stick, he breaks his stick!"
Have a look here between the 51 and 56 second marks. I've watched this 50 times looking for the view I had of it on RDS and still can't quite nail it. But something's up!
It's curious that Sidney's sticks always seem to break near the ends of periods. Five times now in this series, including the one he curiously broke on his own against the goalpost. Riddle me...why would the best player in the game use such a crappy stick. It's like he can almost depend on it breaking.
Indeed, that is all the evidence I need, to know that I am insane.
Seeing things, hearing things. Damn delusion.
Part 3 - Recovery and self help
The problem with a delusion, and I know this, is that it is hard to see it for what it truly is (and what it is doing to oneself) from its own midst. I have a sense that I am off balance and compromised mentally as I cheer my team on.
The worst part is that I deep down believe they could keep on winning until their is nothing left to win. There's ways to do it, ways it can be done, but I can't believe they will.
I love what the Canadiens are managing to accomplish, but deep down I thought they were toast against the Capitals. In all logic they should be at Elimination Eve with the Penguins, instead of heading back on the road where they are 4-2 this playoff.
About three weeks ago, I figured on their being a week left in the season. Now this.
Delusion is causing me great trouble in assessing between euphoria and depression, and I'm not sure why. I'm tempted to say that it is because I fear being tricked.
Are the Habs serious contenders? Is all this a gag? It's a setup, right, and the trap door is beneath my feet, ready to open and let me free fall.
The delusion will be over the minute the Habs are over, I know. That will be solid ground for those of us cynical naysayers who prefer to suggest a loss is imminent in order to cushion not winning.
Who doesn't subscribe to the reverse curse theory?
Stop winning damn it!
If the Habs keep going the way they are, they're out in six.
Delusion is tied directly to elation, and elation is a set up. Have to fear elation. Disappointment is just waiting in the weeds.
And all that therapudic psychobabble. Cause that's all this is, while awaiting the inevitable whatever.
The Habs came back and beat the Penguins 3-2. What a fricking game! Halak was sick, sick, sick! It's got to be destiny. It's like '86 all over, kinda. I can feel a Stanley Cup parade a month away now!
Shoot, none of this worked!