Guest Blog – Callum “Crushasaurus” McCarthyShareThis
Howdy folks, still JB here.
For those of you who’ve been around Bourne’s Blog for awhile, you recall there was a day where I wasn’t writing for eleventy-nine websites and raking in hundreds of dollars a month doing it (oh, the glory). No, all those doors opened because I got a couple breaks. One, Chris Botta ran my piece about Bri and I on Islanders Point Blank, and two, Jason Kay agreed to let me contribute blogs to The Hockey News. Sometimes writers just need to get in front of a few eyes.
Today’s guest blogger has also been featured on THN (and I believe has an internship planned there for next summer, Callum?), is a regular commenter on this blog, and is a general smartass. Which I enjoy.
He’s 19 (and one-fifth)and lives in the UK. That locale would make enjoying the NHL a little more difficult, one would think, so for your reading pleasure: His story about becoming a hockey fan, and getting into the sport as a writer. You can check out his blog here and follow him on twitter. You should also follow me on twitter.
My Love Affair With Hockey
-by Callum “Crushasaurus” McCarthy (Aged 19 and 1/5)
As a native resident of the United Kingdom, the way I take in hockey probably differs slightly from you guys over on the other side of the Atlantic. For a start, if Minnesota are playing Edmonton until 6am GMT, you can be sure I’ll be awake and watching until its conclusion.
“Minnesota vs. Edmonton?!” I hear you cry, “But that’s visual torture!”
True. However, as the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, and I guess that game would fall under something like “abundant, worthless but ultra shiny metal”. Something like that, yeah.
You see, treating hockey like treasure is a habit that has stuck since my mid teens, as up until the age of 14, I had never seen a live game of hockey in any format — be it in person or on television. Before then, my interest in the game had eminated from and survived solely on video games, and as such, my view of the hockey world was a little warped by the time it came to watching the real thing.
Here is a list of some things I thought about hockey when I was 13.
- “Wow! Rico Fata is really amazing!”
- “Pronger’s name is funny.”
- “Haha! He said “STONED BY LUONGO”! LIKE A WOMAN IN ARABIA!”
- “The Washington Capitals are terrible, I should support them and get Dainius Zubrus on a jersey!”
- “The Dallas Stars must be like, the best team ever.”
- Seriously, it goes on forever and I’m done embarrassing myself for your entertainment.
When my family finally bought a sports package on cable, it came with the North American Sports Network, a channel that provided 200 live NHL games a year. Desperate to immerse myself into this new reality and expand my hockey knowledge further than player ratings and Bill Clement, I must have watched about 190 of them.
It wasn’t so much that the hockey was gripping me on a nightly basis, more the fact that the sport I had grown to love the most, I knew the least about. With so much to learn in a short space of time, my thirst for knowledge was insatiable. I’d routinely put myself through hell (Central Division hockey circa 2007) to learn stats, watch new players and expand my knowledge to a level that I felt proud of.
I decided to read hockey websites and blogs daily, including this one when it came into existence a couple of years ago (I came here looking for hockey analysis and instead found a picture of a kitten, a story about his grandfather’s soda and something about… PopeTube?). As geeky as this sounds, when a new post on The Hockey News came up, I was genuinely excited to read it. THAT’S how hungry I was for hockey knowledge.
Naturally, as soon as I felt up to speed, I wrote a lengthy, poorly punctuated rant about how nobody likes hockey in the UK. Being a naïve son of a bitch, I fired this off to Edward Fraser, then web editor of The Hockey News. He then proceeded to run it as a feature on THN.com.
“Booya!” I thought, “I’m freaking God at this hockey thing!”
Reading that piece back, it’s a good job I kept learning.
Even though now in the present day my knowledge is “good/getting better”, I’m still watching two games a night, still getting a maximum of 4 hours daylight a day and still reading everything I can to learn something that I didn’t know yesterday. Sure, the 5-8 hour time difference is a bit gruelling when you have things to do the next day, but it’s a sacrifice I’m now happy to make.
It wasn’t always that way though. I used to feel jealous of you guys living in North America — jealous of just how easy it is for you to immerse yourselves in the culture of hockey. I felt jealous of your normal sleeping patterns, of your normal social lives and of the fact you could go see it all happen live, if you wanted to. I hated having no one to talk to about it and I hated talking to my Dad about it even more – a man who once earnestly suggested that icing the puck “just to mix it up” would be a good idea.
But there was always one feeling that kept me watching, reading and enjoying — one that has only grown on me with every night of every season since 2005.
It was the feeling I got — and still get — at around 11:30pm when everyone had gone to bed. I have the house to myself, I’ve got my pizza in the oven and I’m more than ready to shack up on the sofa all night with a few beers and a night full of good games.
Simplified, this feeling is known as “sheer, unadulterated excitement”, and I wouldn’t swap it for the world.
P.S. Actually that’s a flagrant lie, I’d happily swap it for an apartment in Toronto if any of you have one going on the cheap?