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Zen and the Art of Watching College Hockey

24 March 2017

tUMD takes the ice in like 1.5 hours (really less than that, but I am rounding, but probably more than that, because of the broken glass), and I’m at work (working very hard, I know. It is Friday, I am salaried, and I get my work done on time). I was feeling a bit anxious earlier — but only because of a professional exam I have to take, not because of the hockey game.

Let’s contrast that with 2011. (It appears that the Starland Vocal Band video was pulled from YouTube at some point. Whoops.) Life was a lot different then, but that was the last time I felt really keyed up about a regional. I suppose because it was in St. Paul? I was so anxious all day. Here is an excerpt from that post:

And when I say suffered, I mean SUFFERED. Holy mother. I was completely distracted, my heart was pounding, and I thought I was going to puke. Good god was that stressful. I sent a frantic email to one of my friends sort of jabbering on about how freaked out I was about the game. Then I wrote “Gee, I guess I’m not helping, am I?” She wrote back “NO YOU’RE NOT!” Ha.

And yet here I am, listening to Alice in Chains, blogging out of boredom, and thinking about maybe planning what I’m going to say for a meeting I’m running in 15 minutes. (Now that I’ve thought about it, I’m just going to wing it. And actually now the meeting is over, had to stop writing the blog and hop on the call.) 2011 RWD would be like “What happened to you? You used to be cool.”

To which I would say, “Jeah, whatever. I am cool. You’re the one who has no chill.” Neither “Jeah” nor “no chill” was in my lexicon in 2011  so that would be very confusing for Past RWD.

What did happen to me, though? I didn’t have any major life changes (ok I moved to Duluth and graduated from tUMD but I guess I don’t count that), and I am certainly not more mature.

A national championship happened, I guess. It happened, when it felt like maybe it would never. tUMD from getting a maybe once-in-a-decade shot at a title to playing much more regularly in the national tournament. If it can happen once, it can happen again. Anyone can win 4 games in a row, especially when there must be a winner (no ties, shoot-outs, etc.)

But somehow I’ve managed to keep the joy of victory while letting go of the sorrow of defeat. I don’t know if that happened because I pulled back from fan message boards like USCHO and RacistmascotSports, or because I see tUMD play a lot more, or because there are actual problems in this world like a fascist (well, many fascists) in the White House, or because I got into trail running and work out all my aggression through running, but somehow I’ve managed to stop getting so negatively invested in games. Perhaps I finally was able to internalize that I personally am not a better or worse person because the team I choose to cheer for wins or loses. That sounds stupid but at the same time if more people would realize that, we wouldn’t have, like, hockey dads fighting in parking lots over mites games.

I don’t know what’s going to happen tonight, or even what’s going to happen in the UND-BU game (currently 3-1 BU with 12 minutes to go), but I know that I enjoyed the season, I don’t want it to end, I want to go to Chicago, and that even if tUMD’s season doesn’t end in a win, life will go on, and I’ll still be able to enjoy sports.

Tl; dr version? I’m better than you.

Let’s go DOGGIES!

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