Hockey Fights Are Good For the Soul

So. My boyfriend dumped me.

At least I think he did. He just stopped talking to me. He might have dropped dead in mid-conversation; so, a lack of communication would be understandable and God rest him. Or he might have just decided to ignore me which is just rude and God can do something else with him. We weren’t even fighting, although I was being a little snitty about something I believe he did wrong. He never addressed anything; so, I don’t know if he actually did it or if it was all an honest misunderstanding. It might have been. Apparently, our relationship wasn’t worth the potential confrontation to him. On the other hand, it’s not like I went to his house and forced him to talk to me; so, I guess it wasn’t worth it to me, either.

This summary dismissal made me think about interpersonal dealings in general. And hockey – it made me think about hockey, too. I believe that most of us detest confrontation and that we go to great lengths to avoid it – hockey players being a notable exception.

How many times a day do we come across people we just want to snatch bald-headed? Someone takes that plum parking spot we were stalking, or the last rangoon on the buffet, or they post a series spoiler on Facebook without so much as a warning! Of course, we can’t ram them with our cars, pop their hands, or smack them through the internet (although a “thanks a lot” button on Facebook might be a good idea). We fume while we circle the lot again. We smile and say, “No, really, that soggy-assed spring roll will do just as well.” We skip the episode because watching it is just pointless now. We don’t confront. We absorb the disappointment and even anger, then we go home and yell at the people we love who had nothing to do with it.

Not so for the men on the ice.

A player checks a little high, hits a little dirty or gets in the goalie’s face? He’s gonna smell some gloves. An Enforcer is going to come along, drop his gloves and invite the offending player to dance – that or he’s going to ram the guy into the boards to get his attention. And I’ll be on my feet in the stands or in my living room, screaming like a savage, letting my Viking genes take over. (My father observed that I become positively bloodthirsty watching a hockey game. Since he’s the source of the Viking genes, I blame him, although the trait seems to have skipped a generation there.) Hockey fights provide a vicarious release for me that organized fighting does not – I’m not a boxing or UFC fan at all. The spontaneous nature of the fight on the ice is what makes it attractive. In my mind, I’m the one laying into that idiot who cut me off in traffic.

Obviously, I don’t advocate violence in the streets or at The Golden Wok, and I certainly don’t advocate it when some man or woman ends a relationship rudely. While we weren’t in love, we had fun. I’ll miss our visits and adventures. Still, the frustration over his silence is there and, at the next game I attend, the player on the receiving end of the pummeling will likely have a specific face, indeed.



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