The Spezza Trade: Paralysis and the Way Back

Talk it out. - Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sport

This post isn't really about Jason Spezza. It's actually about me. Sorry for the indulgence.

I've been trying to write something about Jason Spezza since before the trade. Some sort of summation, a wrap of his time in the capital. But it wasn't working. I thought it was because I was trying to write about an ending before it had officially taken place. If Daniel Alfredsson's departure illustrated anything, it was that the manner of leaving can matter a great deal.

And then the Spezza trade happened. But I couldn't write anything. Alex Chiasson and some prospects and a pick. The return didn't change anything. I started several word documents. I wrote a sentence or two and then deleted everything. It wasn't that I had nothing to say about Chiasson and pieces and it certainly wasn't that I had nothing to say about Jason Spezza. After more than a decade with the team, there's lots still left to be said about the departed captain.

I am the problem.

I didn't feel anything. Not that day. Not the days leading up to the trade and not the days since. It would be easier for me if I could feel something, anything. Anger, sadness, happiness - all would give me an angle, something to organize a post around. But I don't feel those things right now. What I feel is nothingness. It's pervasive and all encompassing. It's stopped me from writing several times over the past week. It's stopped me from writing many times in the past. I want to withdraw, I want to pull back. I don't want to comment, I don't want to talk.

It's a paralysis. That's the best way I know how to describe what it's like.

It's a paralysis that prevents me from doing pretty much everything at times. It's not new. It's more familiar to me than any franchise player or legacy captain. It's been with me longer than I've been a fan of this team. Each time I beat it, I know it's not going away, not really, not permanently. I'm in the playoffs, playing the same never-ending round.

I'm pretty fucking embarrassed.

I like writing. I like to write well but I cannot articulate what happens to me with any accuracy or precision. Writing keeps me connected but when this paralysis sets in, it takes that too. Not with a lot of fanfare, not in a way that's noticeable to others, but it quietly strips me of the tools I rely on to stay connected and present.

This paralysis has a name: depression. This paralysis has millions of faces. This paralysis has many more faces that just disappear into the background when this disease takes hold. This paralysis feels like nothingness but is actually the worst fucking thing. For me, it's better to feel sadness, to feel upset. I wish I could feel that about this trade and about this team right now. I wish I could join the pessimism so many are reveling in. It would be something. But that's not how this works. Does this have anything to do with hockey? For me it does. I suspect for many other people it does too.

One of the best things I've ever done was buy a big screen TV and a cable sports pack.

Doing that helped get me out of a paralysis I was stuck in for a long time. Hockey, specifically the Senators, injected emotion back into things for me. Watching a game for three hours makes me feel happy, sad, excited, pissed. However artificial those emotions are, however short term, they brings me back. Sports makes you care about things. Slowly at first, but it makes a difference. I have always been a sports fan but got away from watching for a while. That's what happens if you've got this. It takes away the stuff you love and separates you from the people you care about. The Sens gave me a way back.

It still fucking sucks.

There's not really a way around that. Sometimes your team lets you down. Sometimes players you love leave. Sometimes you find a community of people who like the same team and want to talk about it with you. I didn't live in Ottawa when I joined the Silver Seven community - I still don't - and felt like I was in exile. It's not perfect and sometimes I still want to withdraw, to fade away from this community. I often feel like I don't matter. I frequently feel like the contributions I make are insignificant. But writing for Silver Seven connects me to a community. When all you want to do is pull back, withdraw, and hide, that connection is key.

I don't feel anything about the Spezza trade right now. Maybe I won't for a while or maybe I never will. Spezza's been blamed for many things, but how I'm feeling is not on him. I don't know when I'm going to feel better. That's how it goes. That's what this is like.

It fucking sucks.

But writing helps. The Sens help. Silver Seven helps.

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