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ACCIDENTAL HOCKEY FEELINGS
I’m currently in Vancouver, B.C. working on songwriting with Paul Rigby. It’s so nice to experience the Canadian coastal spring awakening. It’s been too long.
I’m staying at a hotel in bustling downtown. Outside is really busy so I decided to get some exercise in the hotel gym. You should see me, I’m a floppy mess. Mismatched clothes from a decade ago, carrying everything I might need: water, keys, ipod, phone, glasses, a towel, sanitizer, etc. I’m the only person wearing a mask so I’m breathing like a locomotive racehorse. I’m not sorry. I choose an elliptical and get to it. One of the TVs in the gym has Canadian women’s hockey on, and they were really rubbing the Swedish team’s faces in it. Yikes! Canada leads nine to zero, last I checked. Ouch.
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I used to love watching hockey in the 90s. Tacoma had a team called The Rockets. My friends and I would go see them all the time. And I followed the Vancouver Canucks over many seasons even before I moved to Canada. Eventually my favorite players all retired or aged out and my student visa in Canada was up so I had to go back to the states. I think hockey was too painful because I really missed living in Canada. I have tried to watch it since and it’s just so samey. So much macho. Not today. The Canadian women’s team’s passing skills lit me up. I remembered what I loved about the game. I have never seen a team pass like that. Holy. Shit. They were on fire. I felt a strange feeling, rooting for these Canadian women. Kinda like patriotism but not disgusting? Like maybe this is what sports-watching supposed to feel like? I dunno.
Two people came and stood near me to check out the action on the screen. Canada scored a blistering goal against the Swedes. I gave the onlookers the “Woot-Woot!” arms and looked them in the faces with glee. (They could tell from my eyebrows it was glee?) To my surprise, they both gave me the wet, gray frowns of the unamused and I realized they were SWEDES! What were the odds?! I had totally seemed like a Canadian being the “ugly American” completely by accident. Oh well. At one point an assist that led to another lightning goal actually made me tear up a little. I was so proud of these women. Then I remembered with some irritation that it’s International Women’s Day, which is about as useful as patriotism. We need equality and bodily autonomy and a great hockey team. You can keep your “day”.
A shadow-portrait of Paul by Finch Rigby