Petshark: Talking Stick
by petshark on 04/17/12 at 05:59 AM ET
I used to think I was a jinx. It’s a suspicion that still pops into my head now and again. Like tonight. Tonight I did something I have never done before: left a Sharks game before the final horn. I have never walked out on a game… except once, but that was football and I hate football, it was miserable weather, the seats were horribly uncomfortable… and I hate football. But I’ve never left a hockey game before.
It wasn’t because the players were standing around looking like they were going to start fighting, which I figured would be followed by nothing but five more disappointing minutes of failure. No, I had started thinking about leaving before that, and not because they were losing 4-1 or I thought I wanted to get a jump on the traffic. A few minutes either way makes no difference to my drive, and it isn’t like me to walk out when things look dire.
I was thinking “maybe if I go away they will be able to score.” I had tried closing my eyes to no avail. So while the Sharks and the Blues stood around, some not so much standing as lying on the ice, others in headlocks, some being pried away from each other by refs… while that was going on I thought “I would like to hear what Rusanowsky has to say about this, maybe listen to some post-game interviews or something.” Dan Rusanowsky always makes things sound better.
As I walked to the exit, I was certain that the Sharks would score as soon as I left the building. I was wrong. I made it to my car, took off my coat, started the engine, and turned on the radio before White scored. I was almost at the freeway on-ramp when Couture scored. I briefly thought about turning around if it went to overtime, then decided “no, it will be just as nice to hear Rusanowsky tell it.” And besides, believing that my physical location has anything to do with how these games turn out is crazy.
I mean, Burns scored while I was looking. See? Crazy.
Thinking you are a jinx is a form of narcissism. It’s something I try to keep in check, but a sequence of events like tonight doesn’t help. Now I just think I should have left sooner, which is crazy. I have this ticket for Thursday’s game. Just how crazy am I?
A lot of people left early. I doubt most were leaving because they thought it would help. I am surprised by how many more seemed to leave from the lower level than from the upper level. I can’t compare The Tank’s audience to any other venue’s because I haven’t been to a lot of games that the home team lost. Even at HP I have a mostly winning record. But I am pretty sure there was no such evacuation in Philly even while Nabby was embarrassing the Flyers. Maybe they were waiting to see if a fight would break out, maybe they are just that devoted. I don’t know but I do not have enough evidence to say whether The Tank audience bolts easier than any other audience.
I don’t know if it’s because I keep the wrong company on Twitter but it’s hard not to notice how the Sharks compare to other teams. Take the Washington Capitals. Before tonight’s game, I was listening to the Bruins @ Capitals game. I saw a tweet telling me it was hot there. Ever since a certain Caps writer detailed the reasons why the Caps are often compared to the Sharks, I have been attentive to any similarity between the teams. I do not think it is a good reflection on the Sharks to be thus associated. I mean, the Sharks eat Caps as a mid-day snack. So, when I heard that it was hot out in DC, as it was here, with the Caps going into their Game 3 at home, their series tied 1-1, just like the Sharks were about to do… it seemed horribly ominous. I didn’t even know the Caps would lose yet.
It can’t mean anything that both games ended 4-3. I mean, the Caps and the Bruins spent much of the game tied. It was completely different from the Sharks and the Blues. Completely. Blast you, Whyno, for putting this thing in my head.
Before every game, someone or other talks about keys to the game. It doesn’t seem like any of the keys are working reliably for the Sharks. Maybe they don’t know how to use them, maybe they are the wrong keys. I don’t know.
I was traveling with a friend once. We had been out at a pub and we were walking home with some new friends. We were walking along a river. She was walking in front of me and I saw her reach into her pocket, pull something out and throw it. I heard the unmistakable sound of keys jingling as they bounced along the stone wall that followed the river, then a short silence and a tiny splash and her keys were gone. I asked her what that was. She said those were her keys, her house keys, her car keys, all her keys from home. I asked her why she did that. We had been drinking but come on, we were walking in perfectly straight lines. “Sometimes I just have to do something stupid,” she explained.
I think there must be something more to it. That has to be covered by some spiritual purging ritual or another. Throwing away something so important to you that you forget you don’t need it when you don’t need it (like house keys when you are taking a long trip far from home), that has to be significant. When your routine is so familiar that you don’t even know what’s in your pockets or why it’s there, you need to change.
Maybe that’s why hockey players punch each other in the face. It’s a reset. The thing is, a reset does stop working if you rely too much on the same one. It becomes another heavy jumble of keys to you can’t even remember what anymore. I’m sure the Sharks have a lot of other things they do, as all of us have, resets and routines we forget we are carrying around for no good reason.
Now might be a good time for the Sharks to empty their pockets and throw their keys in the river. Go get some new ones made.
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About Petshark: Talking Stick
Native of Northern California. Hockey fan since 1998... sort of... there's a hiatus in there that I still can't explain.
I want to know about anything and everything related to the sport and the spectacle. I watch, I react, I write it down.
My interest in the Sharks was initially a matter of geographic convenience and regional loyalty because that seemed to be how it worked. I had no prior interest (at all-- AT ALL) in professional sports of any kind. When I met hockey, it might have set off a chain reaction of general sports fandom. It hasn't, I don't think it will. At all.
Since then, that interest developed into full blown (mostly sort of usually almost completely) exclusive loyalty to the Sharks.
I started blogging a couple years ago on wordpress. I still occasionally put things there that I don't think fit here because they are not about the Sharks. Wherever my words wander, here on Kuklas Korner, they will (usually) hang on to a teal thread.
I can be found in cyberspace on Twitter @petshark47, or emailed at email@example.com