My Son, the Canuck.
The conversation started when I asked my husband to listen for the code word on TSN.
Their Canuck of the Day contest, which runs from November 14th to December 9th, asks contestants to listen for a daily code word (the name of a Canuck and a number, which is a random stat about the player), then text the name, number, and your own name to 10-40-40.
The more times you enter, the better your odds of winning (the more times your name goes into the draw), so of course I wanted to get as many as possible. The prize, after all, was definitely worth playing for: season’s tickets for the Canucks for the 2016/2017 season AND the 2017/2018 season! That’s worth over $10,000!!!
I can count on one hand the number of Canucks games I’ve been to in the past 30 years. Not because I didn’t want to go, simply because I couldn’t afford to buy tickets. I had to spend my meagre wages on other things, like food and rent and gas for my beater. Hockey, the most Canadian game ever, was out of my reach. I watched it like 99.9% of other Canadians – on tv.
Never in a million years would I even dream of being at every home game. The thought is so ridiculous that I wouldn’t even let my heart hope it. But here was my chance to make the impossible a reality! So I asked hubby to listen for the code word too, just in case I missed it. He scoffed! He rolled his eyes and complained about having to listen to all the sports talk when he didn’t even care about the Canucks!
Ummm… what? Since when?? He watches every game, can talk a blue streak about every play, every player, and that one time that guy on the other team did such and such 12 years ago. And suddenly you’re not interested in winning season’s tickets?? URK!
I thought he didn’t care because he was disappointed in their performance – they ARE, after all, one of the worst teams in the league, just like predicted. So I said to him “it’s not about whether they win or lose, it’s about BEING there, and taking in the ambience and the excitement and the energy. Besides, it’s a special bonding experience with the kids!” The few times we have won tickets to the games, he has always taken one of the kids and they’ve had some quality time together. The kids are really just there for the popcorn and snacks, but as they get older, they’re more and more interested in the game. That’s something I’d like to foster. My favourite memories of my Dad are of us watching hockey games together on a cold winter’s evening in northern Manitoba. Dad would yell at the tv and I would cry every time the men would start fighting. Good times…
This simple statement prompted the most insightful thoughts about the Canucks that I’ve heard yet. And after giving it some consideration, I must say I agree with him. He put it so eloquently at the time, I can’t possibly recreate it word for word, but it went something like this:
“I’m sick of them sending players away. They bring in some great talent, we get to know them, get attached, and the next thing you know, they’re sent down to the minors or traded away. I don’t want to care anymore. My heart can’t take it.”
Again, this is not word for word, but this is the exact sentiment. He didn’t care if he won the tickets or not because he didn’t want to be left missing players! It’s a classic case of separation anxiety!!
It’s true. When we were younger, we looked up to the hockey players. They were our heroes. When we were in our 20’s and 30’s, they were more like our peers – we imagined ourselves hanging out with them. When we were in our 40’s, we felt connected like to a favourite nephew.
Now in our 50’s, the players are more like our kids. We care about where they’re from, we imagine the pride their families feel, we feel our own pride in their dedication to our town. We admire their parenting, applaud their humanity, respect their integrity. We value them as people, not just as sports figures.
We care about them as family members, like our own sons. And when someone loses a family member, it hurts. It can sting for a long time, and harden even the warmest of hearts if it happens too much. Perhaps we’d all be better off if we didn’t get to know these players so well, and just viewed them as pawns in a game instead of actual people with stories and lives?
Alas, that is not the way this works. As a mom, I am protective of my children and will love them no matter what. Moving them doesn’t make me care about them any less. And, in fact, bringing in new blood is fine too – a Mother’s heart has infinite room, and can love one or one hundred children!
A Father’s heart, on the other hand, is more delicate. Those big, tough men are just big balls of mush, sensitive and loving and afraid of being hurt.
So welcome, my son the Canuck. I will support you, watch every game, lift you up when you fall. I won’t turn my back on you when you’re down, I will cheer with pride at your resilience! I’m here with words of encouragement, an understanding ear, a hug and a home-cooked meal. Whatever you need, I’m here for you. Dad is here for you too, he’s just trying not to show it. You know how he gets… 🙄
And yes, we will listen to TSN for that code word.
Because we will always love you.
Even when you suck.