There are things you expect as a fan when your team is in the playoffs. Every Pens-addict knows that the post-season will test your blood pressure and anxiety meds, the total capacity of your bladder (can you hold it til intermission?) the tolerance of your non-hockey neighbors (poor, sad creatures) and possibly even your ability to score Prozac on the street. The highs and lows of each game, every series, win or lose, winds the tension clockwork in your body to ever tightening levels. Will the spring snap? Do I reach for the gun, the knife, or the rope? Every step of your team is another step toward or away from that ultimate shiny salad bowl topped stack of silver rings. One team a year gets the glory and our hockey lives are tied into the fortunes of those guys wearing the Fighting Flightless Fowl on their chests. As it should be.
Every fan (who's really a fan) is ready for that stuff. You stock up on Tums, MOM and Vodka and hunker down for the (hopefully) long haul. I want to talk about the hazard you might not expect. The hazard of the Hockey-mate. I used to think that there's nothing I'd want more in the world. A partner who can understand my incurable (not that I 'm looking for one) compulsion to watch mostly-grown men skate around and fling rubber biscuits at each other. What I hadn't counted on was the unexpected physical danger involved with sharing a couch with a fellow victim of this debilitating disease, this Pens-Addiction.
It started with a grab of the arm during a breakaway. Then a nudge with an elbow at an Orpik hit. The first goal scored, it was a bump with a knee as she was bouncing on the couch. Second goal? Two handed grab of the left arm and a squeeze. (not too tight) Third? A grab and a hug/shake. (pretty tight, but I can still breathe) Fourth goal: Double-handed grab/shake/hug, triple smack on the shoulder. (no bruises, but ouch!). Crosby's empty-netter?: Grab/shake/pummel some more, jump in the lap/bounce (accidental?) heel to the shin jumping off-hair grab/kiss. (ok, the kiss part was pretty cool)
Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. Much like the players the fans (I include myself, of course) are used to the bumps and bruises associated with the Play-Offs. You brush yourself off, pick yourself up, and play (or watch) through it. It's an expected part of the game, and, like I said, the kissing part is cool. What I wasn't prepared for was a round of nearly the same punishment when we watched the game replay several hours later on the NHL Channel. Then there was the three continuous replays of On the Fly with a minor variation on the same theme. Then somehow Sunday there was another replay with a similar result. Needless to say, by the end of the weekend I looked like I'd been tied in a bag and thrown down a hill. (but the kissing part was still cool) Once again, this is not a complaint. Merely a warning to all the unattached PensAddicts out there who might read this.
The only other warning I have is, sometimes when you Google 'Penguin with a gun' you get this: