Kukla's Korner

Above the Glass

Signs you need a hockey intervention

It is time for those of us whose team is not in a playoff final of one sort or another to reflect on the season and think ahead about how to fill the off season with something other than hockey. Ya’ know, like home improvement projects and vacations and what not. In doing so, we must also own up to some harsh truths about our obsession with hockey. Now mind, I myself see nothing wrong with using hockey metaphors in the middle of business meetings, planning my evening meals around the pre-game snack choices at the Rose Garden or spending an inappropriate amount of work time checking my RSS and Twitter feeds to keep up with my favorite sport. My friends, family and employer, however, have other ideas about that. So, for the benefit of my fellow fans, I have devised a simple system to identify whether you need a hockey intervention and how to seek help if you do.

1) You are in the midst of planning your summer vacation around the Stanley Cup final, the 2011 Entry Draft, the NHL Combine and off season trade activity because DVRing it and reading post-game/post-draft summaries will just not do. If so, you may need to do the following: open a dictionary, look up the definition of getaway and write said definition down on a piece of paper twenty or thirty times in a row. I looked it up as part of my own therapy, and I can confirm it does not include the words hockey, National Hockey League or Stanley Cup.  Now mind, I tried not worrying about all the hockey action that will be happening in June, but in accordance with the definition of getaway, I have found a block of four available days between mid-June and June 24 - 25 during which I can escape without a single worry about hockey that I might be missing. During this time I have also avowed not to even look at ESPN if it happens to be on in hotel bar, lest I should be distracted by random hockey tidbits. It’s not easy, but it can be done.

2) You are at a high level, top-floor, CEO-type business meeting and you begin using hockey metaphors and cliches like “we’ll convert this one on the power play”; “we killed too many penalties on that one”; “gotta keep it simple” or “we just have to do the little things.” This requires special and sometimes painful therapy whereby you’ll need to enlist the aid of a colleague you trust who can be in charge of pulling you by the arm out of the meeting and sitting you down in your office for the adult version of a time out while you remember that it’s an office not a hockey rink and there are many more cliches and phrases available for your use, like “in the loop”; “let’s take this discussion offline”; “I’m out of pocket today” or “text me on the mobile.” Your choice really. Optional visual aid: keep a written do and don’t list of acceptable and unacceptable office cliches pinned to your cubicle wall or office bulletin board. Alternative choice: If you’re a gadget nerd, you may keep this list handy on the mobile device of your choice.

3) You are checking the NHL web site now to make triple sure, just in case, that the NHL Network is for sure going to be broadcasting 24/7 throughout the off season with regular hockey programming, even if it isn’t a live game. Since Comcast doesn’t have some magic policy that denies you access to NHL.com if you’ve checked the NHL Network listings more than 10 times in one hour, your best bet is to set aside a set time during the next few weeks during which you can check their schedule of programming, print it out, write it down or schedule a recording, and let that be the end of it. And if you have mobile apps that enable you to constantly check what’s on and set up reminders, whatever, anytime, anywhere…well, I’d say get rid of the app, but that’s a tad unrealistic. So is turning off the mobile device. For this, I will simply say limit the constant checking to two or three times a day. All those friends you’re connected to on said device will thank you.

4) If you are already in mourning because your team is done with their season and have begun self-medicating with any of the following substances, then you may continue to use and abuse said substances until the end of June, and then it’s time for my handy “get in shape for the off season” guide, which I will discuss in a future entry: chocolate, wine, beer, onion rings with the blue cheese dressing where only three of the calories don’t come from fat,  barbecue chicken wings with the same blue cheese dressing, consuming whipped cream directly out of the container (Marshmallow Fluff is an acceptable substitute), martinis and South Park reruns. If these don’t work for you, you may substitute the self-medication of your choice. If your team makes it to the Stanley Cup final, you may extend the deadline until the first week of July.

A note of caution: This is the first year I am putting this plan into action, but the good news is my off season is sort of underway with the end of the Portland Winterhawks’ season so I’ve tested most of these. So far, numbers one, two and three are working. Not so sure that the self-medication substances have taken effect yet, but I’m switching to the fattening blue cheese this week and I think that will make all the difference.  I will report back with an update. And if you don’t do any of these things or anything like them, then good for you. You are a braver soul than I.

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About Above the Glass

Welcome to Above the Glass, a definitive anti-expert’s guide to hockey. I started blogging in 2009 as part of an effort to learn all 87 rules in the NHL Rulebook in 107 days before the 2010 Olympics, 30 years after I discovered the sport. You can peruse the archival results here. Growing up in Arizona, I didn’t even know hockey existed until February 22, 1980, when the USA played Russia in the Olympics. And just like that, the game of the century changed my life. I still don’t quite understand the icing rule or which faceoff circle goes with what offense, but I do know that every aspect of hockey has something to teach us about life. That’s what you’ll find here, along with my unadulterated passion for the game.

I live in Portland, Oregon, home of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks. I invite anyone who wants to know more about hockey in the Rose City to visit here, where I blog exclusively about the Winterhawks. I’ll post an occasional musing about the Hawks, the WHL and junior hockey here as well.

Follow me on Twitter: @AbovetheGlass

Email: samantha@kuklaskorner.com