Playoff grind – a tough two months

Hockey burnout finally arrives

  • Wed Jun 22nd, 2011 7:00pm
  • Sports

“I’m tired” said the sports radio host the day after game seven of the Stanley Cup Final and its sickening side-bar riot.

David Pratt’s comment summed things up for this pouting puck-o-phile and many thousands of others, I’m sure.

It’s not as though we hardcore Canuck supporters and the legions of fresh recruits were not each delighted to fill a spot on the bandwagon, but did it ever feel good when the team-train pulled into the station and we were allowed to disembark and get reacquainted with real life.

This year, number 40, marked the squad’s third trip to the final. On a personal level, another milestone was recorded – this is the year I cracked.

Supporting the Canucks even before their 1970 NHL induction, I had proudly, and at times even smugly professed my “ultimate fan” status. I would never miss a game on TV or radio if it was in my power to tune it in. There were some appointments along the way that just couldn’t be slithered out of, but I would always be sure to find results and digest as many highlights as were available if I couldn’t watch or listen.

I have since conceded top-fan status to the smart phone packing, app-downloading crowd who enjoy 24/7 updates from Canuck Nation.

This year I hit the wall and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Because with my revelation came a gigantic relief.

I pulled the plug on the emotional paint mixer when the score got to 4-0 in game six in Boston.

I had never had a single hint of digestive woes but this time my tract was tied in knots.

I thought, “I’m not on the Canucks payroll… I don’t actually have to go on with this masochism.”

I should have gone for a bike ride but I turned the channel. I felt better just getting away from Hughson’s play by play and Simpson’s description of Boston’s overwhelming superiority. These guys are two of the very best in the business but after two months I just couldn’t take any more.

After some news I turned to the King of Queens. “This is great,” I mumbled to myself, “it’s supposed to be stupid.”

I couldn’t, however, make a clean break, and revisited CBC for the end of the game but did manage to steer clear of the post-mortem.

I was staring at the 32-inch Samsung for game seven, taking heed of a creed from some famous person who had stated something along the lines of “I’d rather regret something I’d done instead of something I didn’t do.”

So I watched. When the closing horn blew that relief I’d discovered in game six returned. I was, as Tiger Williams once said, “Done like dinner.”

You just can’t give a Stanley Cup finalist enough credit. Imagine the mental and emotional stress they have to endure along with the incredible physical abuse.

I salute them, and believe if the Canucks can add the right amount of grit to the mix they may yet win that cup.

But when it comes to making the emotional investment… I’m holding a little more back in 2011-2012.