Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hockey! And Love, Mostly.

Looks like chaos to me. I grew up in California, and hockey might as well have been a sport from Mars. Charming husband grew up in Anchorage, and played hockey in high school. I’ve been forbidden to talk about his most damaging hockey incident, which occurred when he was at Madison Square Garden to see a hockey game. He slipped on beer saturated steps and smashed his finger badly enough to require surgery when he returned to Washington. He still has trouble with it. Technically, this wasn’t actually a hockey injury since he was there to see a game, not participate, but I still maintain hockey is a dangerous sport.
However, I’ve been told I can’t mention that incident, so please disregard that previous paragraph.

We do like our games to carry a risk of danger, don’t we?

You would think, knowing how fragile we are, we’d avoid things that can result in injuries and pain, but instead we rush into them headlong. We risk losing and injury because winning makes it all worthwhile.
Love’s the same way.

You thought I was going to talk about hockey, didn’t you? But I’ve already exhausted my knowledge, except to say that whoever scores the most goals wins, and I’m not sure a remedial hockey course is in anyone’s best interests.

Especially now that Canada has just scored a goal and they’re ahead.

I can watch hockey and type at the same time because I don’t know what I’m looking at.

One would think, knowing what we know about love, that we’d avoid it like the plague. It’s messy. It’s work. We can get hurt, and often do. It takes compromise and a degree of selflessness, if done properly. It can turn our world upside down, and then right side again, often at the same time. It’s amazing we manage to get through it so well so much of the time, given the hazards.

Being in love, as opposed to just loving someone, means giving up a certain degree of autonomy. Suddenly, it’s not about just me and what I want. Someone else is involved too, and this someone else may complicate things. They may not want the same things. If it doesn’t work out, which happens far more than we’d like, people get hurt.

And sometimes people fall out of love. And sometimes they don’t fall out of love but they break up anyway, for various reasons. And it sucks.

A lot more people fall in love than play hockey, and I’m pretty sure falling in love is even more dangerous than hockey, it not physically, at least emotionally.

There must be some sort of reward in it that makes it worth risking the pain. When it works successfully, it’s better than winning a gold medal at the Olympics.

(One way to get readers during the Olympic frenzy is to write about the Olympics, even if only in a roundabout way.)

A gold medal in love means having someone there who you can trust with your most valuable belongings, like your heart. It means the possibilities open up before. However, it also means you may have to share a bathroom. You may have to make some hard decisions about who sleeps on which side, and you may have to decide which family to visit on which holidays. There are thousands of pitfalls that come with being in love and having a relationship.

And when it doesn’t work out, it’s really hard.

Charming husband and I broke up once, when we were dating. We both had to make changes, and I was certain that the age difference was an insurmountable problem. And it was awful.

It only lasted two days. Sometimes breakups, like relationships, just don’t take. Last week we celebrated the six year anniversary of the day we met – in person, anyway. We’d been emailing before that.

The thing about winning a gold medal in love is that it’s not a game. The comparison breaks down there, because we’re not competing (or shouldn’t be), and one couple winning doesn’t mean another couple loses. Also, there are no pucks, and heavy padding is optional. Helmets aren’t required. (If helmets seem like a good idea, you’re doing it all wrong.) The similarities between love and hockey are only superficial apparently. But you should still play fair in both, and you should be willing to risk injury for a greater reward. If it goes bad, emotional injuries will heal, with time. Maybe not completely. We’re all a conglomeration of whatever’s happened to us in the past, after all. But mostly.

How much risk you take is dependent on how badly you want to win, and when it works, you find it was all worth it, even the wrong turns along the way. 


  1. I dunno, Monique. There are times when love, if done right, might require a helmet. *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*

  2. Depends on how you're doing it, doesn't it?

  3. Oak headboard... need I say more? ;)

  4. Helmet. Fire extinguisher. Neeky - it's possible that you and I are NOT the least coordinated people we know.

    Happy to share the podium with you. Cheering for more who go for the gold.

  5. One thing though.. as a team you can't get the gold unless you work together. One can't get it alone, no matter what they try.