I was okay with it, dammit! Perfectly fine! By the time December 1st rolled around, I had reached a level of blissful apathy that coloured everything a beautiful shade of I-Don't-Give-A-Shit. And man, was it sweet. No longer would the very sight of the vile, puckered, lipless bobble head that is Gary Bettman instantly send me into paroxysms of impotent rage. No longer would the daily Daly/Fehr duelling hissy fits drive me to never before experienced levels of insanity. I was finally able to just...let go. Just...let it be.
There would be no season. I had come to accept it. Bettman and Fehr and Daly and Mini-Fehr and everybody else involved in this epic shit stain of a toddler tantrum could yell at each other until their heads finally punched through their lower intestines. I didn't care. All of them could go eat a pus filled bag of whithered yak vaginas. I didn't care. All of them could suffer long, lingering, extremely painful deaths at the hands of rabid farm animals. All of them. I didn't care. They took my hockey away. They took my hockey away for what amounted to a glorified dick measuring contest and I. Didn't. Give. A. Rat's. Ass. And I could finally fool myself into thinking that I was happy. But now...
Some people are just plain pissed. And that's good. Anger is healthy. Anger cleanses. Anger provides a cathartic balm. At times, and this is one of those times, anger is so god-damned RIGHTEOUS, so perfect and well deserved that it becomes damn near orgasmic. A pulsing explosion of oh-so-gratifying anger. A rage-ukake, if you will.
And I'm angry too. My most fervent wish for Opening Night, what with all of the pomp and circumstance and bunting and that stupid fucking marching band the Laughs haul out every year and the "Thank you fans!" PR bullshit painted into the ice, would be to see thirty teams playing in 15 utterly empty arenas. Not a paying soul to be found. No ticket revenue. No parking. No concession sales. No television audience. Nothing. Just 44 players, four officials, a lot of bored-to-shit ushers and all of the atmosphere of a midnight beer-leaguer. That would be awesome. But it will never happen. Which is why I feel the way I do now.
I hate myself.
I hate myself utterly and in miserable fashion. Why? Because I know I'll be back. I won't be able to help myself. I know that come puck drop on January Whateverth, I'll be just like all of you; eyes glued to the television, snacks and beer in hand and all THANK YOU MAGIC BEARDY JEBUS MAN HOCKEY IS BACK!! I know that two weeks into this aborted season, I'll spend way more time than Her Majesty would like talking about line combos, Bingo call-ups and why Sergei Gonchar should be fed into a wood chipper. I know that by the time April comes, nothing else will matter to me but standings and beating the Laughs one last time and all of this crap will have been completely forgotten. I know it, and I can't stand it.
So let that be the Dumbest Of Dumb Ass Labour Disputes Ever's last gift. The League and the players have managed to take the game I love above all others and turn it into an instrument of shame and self loathing. Neat trick, that. And who do I have to blame? Nobody but myself.
Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go take a shower. Hockey's back.