At the beginning of this season I told myself I’d try to update this blog every two weeks. I started out with a bang; a season preview that had one gentlemen referring to me as “a Pulitzer prize worthy writer.” (Actually it was this drunk homeless guy who hangs around the couche tard, and he didn’t actually read it, but he wanted some loose change, and instead of referring to me as a Pulitzer prize worthy writer, he said “hey you, guy with the beard.”)…So since that hot start I’ve updated this blog…zero times.
Now all my loyal readers (yes all 7 of them – hi Dad…actually my Dad doesn’t even read this blog…hi Roy) know that I have a baby at home. Having a kid, means having less time for everything else. Just over a year ago, I wrote about how having a baby (I was 12 days in at that time) had some stark comparisons to being a sports fan. So in sitting down to write about the season thus far I found myself elaborating on that idea. After having been a father for over a year now, I’ve had new experiences which are even more relatable to the adventure that is a Habs season. I found numerous comparables between parenting situations and hockey fan situations. Below is my list of fav points and the different angles.
1) The anxiety and excitement of starting something new.
So I wrote a little about this in Habbin’ a Baby vol 1. Certainly the birth of my son was both exhilarating and terrifying. Despite having nephews and nieces, doing research, and talking to people with children – until the kid shows up and it’s game on, you have no clue what to expect. Those first few months you learn the tendencies, pick up on the trends, and start to have some realistic expectations for yourself and your child; incidentally, these tend to differ wildly from the expectations pre-birth. Alas, my son wasn’t skating and stickhandling like Patrick Kane at the age of 4 months, but he did pee into my gym bag from 4 feet away.
Habs Fan Angle:
As I mentioned in the season preview, Marc Bergervin tried to temper expectations going into this season. However, fans were overly excited in the pre-season and anxious for the season to get started. Ultimately, with a few new faces and larger roles for young players, fans didn’t know what to expect. Now that the season is underway, you can see which players are developing (Sekac, Eller, Galchenyuk), what lines seem to be working (Eller-Sekac-Prust), and where some more help is needed (young Dmen, Subban turnovers, PP). Perhaps those Stanley Cup expectations were a little lofty but hey…we beat the Bruins 5-1 last night, so go ahead and drink those six pints. Just be safe, enjoy yourself, and try not to pee in anyone’s gym bag. If you have to, make sure it’s a Bruins fan’s gym bag.
2) Irrational Panic
So the first time my newborn son slept more than 5 hours straight, Bats and I panicked and woke him up. For a while as he got older, he wouldn’t sleep well through the nights…so if I could build a time machine and go back in time, I would clothesline my past self just before I woke him up. Fast forward to when my son is 11 months, he developed his first real fever, and as the fever crested 40 degrees Celsius, I promptly called my brother and his wife 872 times (they are both doctors) and we took him to ER at the Children’s Hospital (I skipped my fantasy football draft to do this…I’m currently 1-9…I don’t want to talk about this any further). After a few hours of waiting, we were told to give him Advil, provide him with rest and comfort, and his fever would go down. “BUT WHAT IF IT DOESN’T!? (Also note: I likely sounded like Donald Duck on helium.) The very calm doctor assured me he was fine but in case it didn’t go down, we could bring him back. Needless to say, his fever broke the next day and he was back to farting on me in no time. The sad thing is, I was self-aware that I was being irrational, but the reality is sometimes you can’t help it. It just happens…
Habs Fan Angle:
…During the Habs’ mini slump, after the Blackhawks had completed a 5-0 drubbing on the Habs, a game that featured several highlight reel saves by Carey Price, whom without, the score may have been 9-0, I heard some fan on the post-game show claim that it may be time to trade him…wait…WHAT?? Trade Carey Price? We may as well start a street hockey game on the Decarie expressway because you know what…THAT’S A LESS CRAZY IDEA. If we trade Carey Price, I’m going to start dressing up like a Cookie Monster Batman and patrol the dirty streets of Montreal by throwing bat shaped cookies at would-be criminals…because being a vigilante Batman Cookie Monster seems like a more rational idea than trading Carey Price. I mean I know we were slumping but come on! Then again, Montrealers and Habs fans are known for their impulsive behaviour and typically regarded as one of the most irrational fan bases in hockey. That said, we Habs fans have a ton of hockey knowledge but despite that understanding of the game….sometimes…we just can’t help it. It just happens…
3) Bravo!!! (clapclapclapclap)
When my son first rolled over, we yelled “bravo!” and clapped like hyper active seals; when he first sat up, we did the same; when he crawled, we did the same. One of the coolest things about being a parent is seeing the development of a child, and how they evolve, and when they reach those benchmarks and take their first steps you can’t help but celebrate it and draw intrinsic value from it.
Habs Fan Angle:
Watching the development of the Habs’ young players, seeing them evolve in their games – those first steps give loyal fans a true thrill and hope for the future. After Jiri Sekac took the puck straight to the net vs. Winnipeg earlier this week, a move that resulted in a Lars Eller goal, I basically stood up from my couch, jumped 23 feet in the air, and then gave Jiri a standing ovation while yelling bravo and wiping a tear away from my eye…just before my wife super kicked me and told me to keep it down so I don’t wake the baby.
4) Discovering a hidden talent that we didn’t know existed.
So I’m watching football while my son is rummaging through his toys on the ground and causing a ruckus as per his usual. My focus is fixed on a game and all of a sudden – *bonk* – a ball bounces off my face. I look down to see my boy laughing at me, and then trying to climb up on me in order to retrieve his ball. Once I realized he threw it at me and it didn’t randomly fall out of the sky, I gave him the ball again and said ‘throw it again.” I needed to harness his incredible accuracy and velocity. I was envisioning him in an Expos jersey, starting pitcher in game 1 of the World Series. As he took the ball from me…he promptly bit into it like an apple, and then holding it in his mouth like a rabid dog he turned around and trampled over the rest of his toys on his way to the bedroom where I’m sure he pulled all of his books off the shelf unit and then climbed it like King Kong.
Habs Fan Angle:
While I could mention Dale Weise’s surprising offensive skill (no one is going to mistake him for Sidney Crosby, but he’s certainly more than a 4th line grunt as evidenced by his penalty shot goal and sweet drop pass to Pacioretty last night), this point goes to Nathan Beaulieu, who apparently moonlights as Mike Tyson from the epic game Mike Tyson’s Punch Out. As Stéphane Veilleux and Matt Fraser learned recently, Beaulieu possesses a one punch knockout power and is a very adept fighter. I suppose this shouldn’t be that surprising considering he and his father tag teamed a guy in a bar fight last year. Regardless, a few more of these fights and guys around the league may think twice about facing this guy, who is known more for his first pass out of the zone, and not his first punch to your kisser.
5) Appreciating the small things
Being a parent is tiring. After being peed on, throat punched, kicked in the nuts and having a blueberry bounced off my cornea, I’m right about at the end of my rope…but then I pick up my kid, he makes eye contact, he smiles at me, and he puts his head on my shoulder and all of a sudden all that other stuff doesn’t matter. Being a parent means learning to be patient, dealing with the shit (both figuratively and literally) and relishing those moments. The small things that remind you why you love this little person with all of your being…
…then you realize it’s only been one year, and you drop to your knees and pray for his safety and health.
Habs Fan Angle:
When you head out to grab a brew and check out the game with all the other crazy fans in this city, you get to see that we’re all in this together – highs and lows. So after slumps, bad turnovers, giving up leads, almost Bourques, and getting blown out by the Calgary Flames, fans seemed to be at the end of their rope. But a desperation win in Buffalo, a strong win over Minn, a shut out over the Jets, and a beatdown victory against the B’s, and we are quickly reminded why we love this team. We relish these moments and they remind us why the blue-blanc-rouge are our team…
…Then you realize the season is only 16 games old, and you drop to your knees and pray for the safety and health of Carey Price.
So as far as my recap on the season thus far, I think I’ll wait to till the season is closer to the quarter mark, before making wildly irrational claims and celebrating all the youngster’s first poops, err I mean first steps.
Go Habs Go!