There was a giant, thick-seeming dude, grinning and dancing on the sidewalk as I made my way to my bus stop on the way to Vancouver, prior to yesterday's game. I think he was waving a big foam rubber finger. He looked directly at me as I passed him and yelled, "Go Canucks go! Whooooo!" at me, and I just glanced up from beneath a downward-tinted brow, Amon Amarth on my headphones, and walked on by; nevermind joining him in rabid cheering, I didn't even crack a fuckin' smile.
Well, maybe a bit of a superior smirk, but... it's not the kinda thing he would have felt reaffirmed by. Maybe that's why the Canucks lost the game, do you think? Maybe it was all my fault. All these people who believe that they can influence the outcome of events by how much merch they buy, how they dress, how loud they yell, where they hang their flags, or how many Canucks icons they paint on their fuckin' faces (or other body parts) - maybe they actually DO generate some sort of positive charge in the universe that the Canucks can draw off, and by glowering at this dude like he was, say, a bloody moron, I counterbalanced this juju just enough that the Canucks didn't have a chance.
I mean, it's an interesting thought - that we are, on some level, still such superstitious, tribal creatures that such thoughts can come to mind. We might as well still be dancing for rain, eh? (Or, uh, sun, as the case may be).
And y'know, even if there's no chance in hell that I'll be in Vancouver for Wednesday - and although I've been humming the Tragically Hip's "Fireworks" to myself, for the line "you said you didn't give a fuck about hockey," all week, I must admit that there is an urge, however tiny, to tune in to Wednesday's game. The pull is there - not because I'm interested in the event per se; the question of which group of men with skates on their feet beats the other in an unnecessary, fundamentally meaningless contest is a billion miles from anything I deem significant - but because I feel some need to have seen this thing that everyone else apparently deems so goddamned important. What if people ask me about a detail from the night? "I'm sorry, I don't give a fuck about hockey" is such a downer thing to say, you know? It pisses all over my interlocutor's parade, just like I did with that beefy moron on the sidewalk yesterday. Because in this context, with the Canucks on the verge of winning a prize that has long eluded them, that's like saying, "I'm sorry, but I think you people are all retards." It amounts to voluntarily EXCLUDING MYSELF from my community, declaring myself superior, indifferent, special (and thus possibly inviting the community's wrath; perhaps they'll come with torches in the night...). God knows our community ties are stretched so weak these days that I wouldn't want to be guilty of damaging them further... If the Canucks LOSE, I should be able to share the pain of my fellows, to be able to extend them sympathy. And if they win, what joys, what bonding experiences, what enthusiastic group hugs will be excluded me?
Giorgio Magnanensi's comments on hockey on that jazzfest discussion I mentioned are well worth reading... ("We have become so individualized and conditioned to experience ourselves as separate, we have an actual fear of community, unless our beloved team wins, no matter what...").