Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Hockey Fever

On Christmas Day, our family played street hockey on the church parking lot. On New Year's Day, we stayed glued to the NHL Winter Classic. When a hockey game is on television, out comes the gloves and stick to try getting the tennis by passed our dog Nyute. He's a ball hungry lab mix who has the reflexes of goalie Marty Turco. Some may be amused by such a display of enthusiasm, but what they may not understand is how new to me is the who feeling of being a sports enthusiast at all.

Prior to moving to Texas, I was not a sports enthusiast. Basketball, soccer and others all flew well below my radar. At times I enjoyed watching football on television, but was never so committed to it to actually purchase something with a team logo on it (in Seattle this would have been the Seahawks). We did go to a few Mariner's games, enjoying the ballpark experience. However, this fan connection was quite tepid at best.

Some type of forcefield must have been breach though when we drove across the Red River when moving to Dallas in summer or 2003. Perhaps their is a "sports virus" in the Ogallala aquifer that has infected the Lone Star State. In any case, I have definitely developed a sports compartment of my brain that resonates with the excitement, competition, suspense and connection to local teams that is that human condition known as "sports enthusiasm." However, this condition has not translated into enjoyment of all sports. I enjoy watching football, might watch the Mavericks if they make the finals again, and even attempt to watch World Cup Soccer just to say I have broader tastes. But none of those are arresting my attention like hockey has begun to do. It's a new feeling of enjoyment, adrenalin and vicarious struggles on the ice.

For this reason, it's fun to being collecting hockey gear, playing it in the house, in the street or in the yard. Dallas Stars memorabilia is showing up all over the house. Naomi and I are even starting to learn some of the rules in order to follow the game. I even enjoy listening to the Stars game of the radio. It's a whole new wide world of sports, and I've got hockey fever.

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