Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Lockout...

You know, I've been pretty zen about this whole lockout thing all summer.  I figured that there's not anything I can do to prevent it from happening, so I didn't bother wasting my time worrying about it.  Sure, I've followed along with the news, but I've been more or less pulling back from hockey in general since the major free agency deals went down.  I looked at this as sort of an inevitability that was looming in the distance that I was just going to have to cope with.  I didn't have any anxiety leading up to today, but I also didn't have any hope.  I just kind of ignored everything.

But then midnight came.  The thing that hit me as I watched the clock was that sense of inevitability that had accompanied this lockout from the beginning.  I knew it was going to happen.  Everyone did.  Not once at any point during the negotiations this past month did I feel like there was a chance of an agreement.  There was never any hope for a reasonable settlement.  And I got angry.  More angry than I ever was in '04-'05, which is surprising because I've mellowed out a lot in the last few years.   During that lockout, I coped by watching an array of hockey movies and my Wings DVDs as I anxiously anticipated the return of the game I loved.  I eagerly read every article about the negotiations hoping against hope that there would be good news.  I was devastated when the season was officially cancelled, even though I knew it was going to happen.  I still slept in my giant Wings t-shirt and wore my various shirts and hats around campus.  But not this time.

This time, I stormed out to my garage and found the first empty giant tub that I could get my hands on.  (This is quite impressive because it required scaling a mountain of boxes and a couple of bags of hockey equipment.)  I went up to my room and cleared out every piece of Red Wings apparel that I could find.  Every Wings t-shirt, pair of PJ pants, sweatshirt, hat, scarf, jacket, and even (to my mom's great offense) the purse she bought me last year.  The only thing left in my room is my autographed Yzerman jersey because Steve Yzerman is still special and it got a special dispensation.  My Wings/Tigers t-shirt blanket also remains, but that will only be displayed Tigers-side up from now on.

I've suddenly got a lot more room in my drawers.
  My clothes-packing fit was briefly interrupted by my mom calling me crazy and (correctly) pointing out that I was going to need another tub.  It would seem that no matter how much I sat on the lid, one 18-gallon tub just wasn't going to cut it.  At that point it also occurred to me that I might have some issues with being a Wings merchandise hoarder, but that's a problem to tackle on a different day.  Once I made another perilous trip to the top of the pile of tubs to retrieve a second tub, I packed the excess into that.  Then went back upstairs and made a second sweep of my room.  I found a few stray shirts that had escaped the first pass and then, since I had plenty of space, I grabbed some of the other memorabilia.  My autographed pucks, several car flags (How on earth did I end up with 5 of them?), calendars, and anything else that wasn't particularly breakable got tossed in the tub too.

Banished to the basement.
My mom thinks I'm a raving lunatic because of this, but I think it's a perfectly reasonable response.  If the NHL is going to have another lockout, that's its business.  But I will not be wearing any of its merchandise or spending any time thinking about it in the meantime.  If/when hockey comes back, I'll watch.  The tubs will be pulled out of the basement and clothes put back into circulation.  I know I won't be able to stay away, and any threat otherwise is hollow.  But until then, you won't see me wearing anything hockey-related.  I won't be writing about it.  I won't be reading about it.  I've got plenty of other interests that can take up my time.  I've got the Tigers, the Wolverines, a dozen lifetime's worth of books, and a whole boatload of British tv to pass the time.  I think I'm going to be just fine.

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