Supplication for Hockey Success

I'm a hockey fan.

Not one of those “OMG they look so cUUUte” hockey fans.

Not one of those “I watch it for the fisticuffs” fans, either.

Not even one of those “Lookit my new team, they won the Stanley Cup last year, and so they rawk!”

I'm not a band-wagon fan.

Sometimes, I wish I was. Then I could get pissed off if my team shit the bed, and turn on basketball or shout at the tele about football (the American version) or darts, or curling, or something. I hate basketball.

But no, I'm one of those fans who loves my team when they're good and when they suck so badly that they couldn't win against a farm team, or their local high school's Jr. Varsity hockey team. I love them when they're losing just as much as I love them when they've lifted the Cup over their heads.

My team is the Pittsburgh Penguins.

I have never lived in Pittsburgh. By all rights, I should be as madly in love with the Detroit Red Wings as my Love is... I was raised outside Kalamazoo, after all.

In New Mexico, there were several times I'd stumbled across a hockey game on the tele, and stopped to watch it. I'd seen The Oilers with my Dad many times as a kid-- he's not a hockey fan, but he loved to watch Wayne Gretzky. I think everyone watched that man dance on the ice. He was a God amongst men. It was a way of not feeling so far away from my Dad as he was on the East Coast, and I was living in the middle of Butt-Fuck-Nowhere New Mexico (Alamogordo, to be precise, but it was so fucking backward I might as well have lived in Arm Pit Wyoming*).

Anyway, when I was living in Landstuhl my neighbours downstairs were huge hockey fans, and wouldn't you know it, they were from Pittsburgh. I was friends with JR and Mike, and they taught me all about how the game worked, what a “penalty” was, why they put that guy in the little box “the Sin Bin” and what a biscuit was (the puck)-- amongst other more colourful things. They also taught me to love the Pens, and of course, I absorbed all of the hatred they had for the Flyers. Fucking Philly! I loved Gretzky just like they did, and revered Mario Lemieux.

It was the early 90's, the very beginning, and so I was there when Pittsburgh burst out on the scene and actually won the Stanley Cup! Oh My God! They won two years running! What the Fuck!

Then Mario got sick, and hurt his back. We were sad, but hopeful. He'd get better, and come back and... never was the same.

Between about 1995 and 2005 (after the lock out) Pittsburgh was a terrible team. He came back and left, and came back, and left, and they just could not get their shit together. Mostly it was bad management, and the financials of the team were beyond horrible. (If you need a modern day equivalent, look at Phoenix!)

I still loved them. For whatever reason, learning the game like I did, I became a life-long fanatic for the black and gold (or the flightless bird on skates, if you prefer). Through thick and thin, through the rumours of selling them to Kansas (I know, right? WTF is that?), even when they were so bad...
Once, someone asked me if I watched sports; I was in the service, and there was football on down in the Day Room. Did I want to go watch it?

“Naw, thanks, I'm a hockey fan!” I announced without thinking.

“Oh yeah? Who do you follow?”

“Oh,” I remember deflating, but thinking, What the hell, might as well tell him. “The Pittsburgh Penguins.”

“Oh, shit man, I'm sorry!” he said.

He wasn't the first, or last person to tell me that.

My team isn't doing very well. We won Friday night, after losing six in a row. Six games in a row... As of Saturday 14th (when I sit here to write this) we're number 17 out of 30. This means we're out of a Play Off Spot-- those start in April, or very end of March. We need to be number 7 or 8, comfortably in the centre of the Eastern Conference. Not at the top of the losers. The Panthers are ahead of us!

Toronto is ahead of us! Permanent losers, “we're rebuilding the team” for 20 years! Even they are ahead of us.

I'm ready to sacrifice a chicken! (Hmmm, there are some next door... “Here chicky chicky chicky”)

Wait, wait, wait, before I commit a crime, which I completely do Not advocate, I decided that I might need to propitiate the Hockey Gods. So I discussed with my Love who he thought the Four Living Gods of Hockey would be.

We agreed immediately on three. The fourth one, well, we finally figured on one.

So, here's my Supplication for Hockey Success...
I hope it works. I really don't want to stake out those chickens.

Oh Great One, I beg thee, send the speed of your Tornado this way.
Bless these white gloves I pray,
A handful of points wouldn't be amiss,
Otherwise, the fans are going to be utterly pissed.

Oh, Magnificent One, I implore thee, dance around the D-men,
Empower the puck for my Pens.
A little speed would be good,
But bowling them over would be better for the player's mood.

Mr. Hockey! You who have been the epitome of all that is a God Player:
Punch those fuckers, will ya?
Kick the players in the arse,
Just threatening to lace up your skates ought to end this farce

Coach Bowman, just stand there, and look at the bench.
That stare's enough to give anyone the “clench”.
Let your Eyes of Power chastise those lazy bastards into actually playing the game.
Remind them that this whole thing is ruining their names.

Blessings on the ice, the puck and the sticks,
May the Refs be honest and not overly pick,
Praise until the Cup of Stanley, silvery grail,
May the love of all fans never fail.

In the name of Gretzky, Lemieux, Howe and Bowman,
Puck Drop!

It must have worked, because my boys won two in a row over the weekend. I guess the neighbours chickens are safe... for now <wink>

*No offence intended to anyone living in itty bitty towns in Wyoming, or anywhere else.

If you have no idea what the fuck I'm talking about, first, I'm sorry.
Second, go here The National Hockey League for numbers and stuff, and here:”How Hockey Works"

I referred to Wayne Gretzky, “The Great One”, or more often, “The One”,

Mario Lemiuex, “The Magnificent One” or , “Super Mario”

Gordie Howe, “Mr. Hockey”

and Scotty Bowman, Coach to both the Pens, and the Wings, in his long and glorious career in hockey.


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