This article originally appeared on the blog on November 11, 2010, back when PITB was in its infancy. Because its message still applies, however, we thought we’d share it with you once again (with minor alterations for topicality). Please take a moment on this Remembrance Day to appreciate that the life you have is the result of others sacrificing theirs.
Way back in January of 2009, the Canucks went down to San Jose to play a Sharks team that, at that time, were the best team in hockey. The Canucks were sputtering; they had lost eight straight (and would go on to lose two more before this happened). It was a bad time for a measuring stick game, but Canucks fans needed to know their team wasn’t as bad as the losing streak suggested.
After Taylor Pyatt opened the scoring eight minutes into the first, the Canucks spent the rest of the game trying to make his goal stand up as the game-winner.
It almost did.
But, in the final minute, with the net empty, the Sharks applied heavy pressure and, with forty seconds left, Devon Setoguchi tied the game.
The collective groan of Canuck nation could be heard from space (where there’s no sound–that’s how loud it was). To make matters worse, Patrick Marleau scored three minutes later in overtime.
Fan response was bitter, though perhaps none were as vocal as the infamous Richard Beach. He went nuts, wrote a scathing letter, and canceled his cable. He was done.
Vancouver fans tore him nearly in half with their mockery, but I found it all a little hypocritical. From where I was sitting, his impetuous rampage was strangely admirable. He was unflinchingly upfront about Vancouver’s dirty little secret, a secret that was on full display this June: we take our hockey way too seriously.
I think we all felt at least a little of what he felt that day; I know I did. I was watching the game alone, and when Marleau scored, I threw the most infantile hissy fit of my adult life. Eventually, the blood rushed back to my brain, bringing perspective with it, I realized how seriously I take this team. ‘Tis a fine line between Richard Beach and I.
I tell this story because it’s Remembrance Day, and the worst thing that might happen to me today is a Canucks’ loss in Anaheim.
What a privilege to give so much import to something so trivial — only in a country overblessed with freedom. Consider a world where we can take hockey as seriously as we do, primarily because our lives are such that there’s little more grave to consider. We devote so much attention to the Canucks, I think we run the risk of forgetting the remarkable price some paid to afford us such lightness of being.
We live in a land so generally unburdened of persecution that the worst hate spewed in our direction will likely come from other hockey fans; a country where the only time most of us use military language is when describing a sports play; a country where the observation of freedom is so constant we run the risk of becoming unbeknownst to it, like water to a fish; a country where a regulation loss in January is the closest we come to the end of the world. It’s a remarkable privilege to expend so much emotion on a hockey game.
It’s not like this everywhere and it wouldn’t be like this here without the sacrifices of the men and women we this day remember.
Lest we forget.Tags: featured, perspective, Remembrance Day, spotlight