Why Did Everyone Care About Stanley and His Cup?


Let me be frank. I have never been, nor will I ever be a sports girl. I see them; I know they exist. They drink beer and wear baseball caps and jerseys and probably flip flops and go to bars and scream when their teams score and their boyfriends probably love it. I am not one of those girls. I don’t care about tennis or its Nadal “King of Clay,” or soccer and its Ronaldo “Face of Wax.”

My spare time is filled with important tasks like obsessively washing my car, taking inventory on what products in my home are less than 50% full so I can replenish my life-maintenance stock, getting my nails done, thinking about getting my nails done, thinking about how to not turn 30, thinking about how to eat candy without having to exercise, and eating candy.

My boyfriend, Mike, is a die-hard, unwavering LA Kings fan. I knew this pretty quickly when we started dating, chose to actively ignore it, and over time began to see the extent of his fandom. I met him in the hockey off-season, which is miraculous because there basically is NO hockey off-season. Last fall the hockey love was not so much of an issue for me. Mike wouldn’t talk about it too frequently and it did not get in the way of our plans or my candy eating.

I have tried to make Mike understand how I feel when I “watch” sports.

He would check scores from his phone and do any other geeking out presumably when I wasn’t around. I’ve tried to block the exact time frame from my memory, but I think the Kings started to seriously interfere with my life this spring. All of the sudden plans were being moved, cancelled, or made AROUND the Kings games. When the Kings started playing the Anaheim Ducks is when I started sincerely losing my s**t. It further escalated when they beat the Ducks and progressed into the semi-finals, and that is the point during which I lost all ability to keep my cool. It makes me die a little inside even just knowing this information without needing to look it up. Adding insult to injury is the fact that there are multiple games per week, rendering them completely unavoidable.

I have tried to make Mike understand how I feel when I “watch” sports.

I told him once while we were at a restaurant watching hockey to pretend the TV was playing classical ballet instead of hockey, because only then could he understand. But no one broadcasts ballet for three plus hours at a time.

The only exception to my hock-atred is the experience of actually attending a game. I like attending games at the Staples Center. I don’t like attending because of the sense of unity I feel with my fellow enthusiasts or the palpable energy in the room. I like going to games at the Staples Center because the Wetzel’s Pretzels at the Staples Center are far superior to any Wetzel’s Pretzels anywhere else in the world. They’re bigger, softer, fresher, and exponentially more delicious than any Wetzel’s you will find at any mall or airport, anywhere. Pretzels are important to me. If you don’t believe me, go to the Staples Center, buy a Wetzel’s Pretzel, and try to tell me I am wrong. You can’t.

same, but for hockey.

same, but for hockey.

There are exactly two things that test my relationship. One is that I turn into a heinous human being if you don’t feed me every few hours. The other is the Kings. It’s impossible to tell at this point whose fatal flaw will cause more long-term mental damage to the other person, but I’m inclined to believe that Mike should eventually be responsible for my therapy bills based on the fact that my angry outbursts last 20 minutes (or until I’m fed), while hockey games are 3 hours or longer, several times per week, and the sport itself does not appear to be going out of business anytime soon, much to my chagrin. It’s like a life-sentence I’m being given by association, and I stand by my man, but his hobby has been a steady plunge into insanity.

Despite my sentiments, because I try to go above and beyond in my girlfriend duties, I took Mike to Game 6 at the Staples Center in the semi-finals. This was a big game because if the Kings were to win, they would eliminate the need for a Game 7 tiebreaker and would propel themselves into the Stanley Cup Final. Midway through, I really started to get into the game. I had my stadium accoutrements: a fountain Diet Coke, a huge cookie, and giant, butter-blasted pretzel. I was happy. I wanted to see a win! I let my hair down and my vulnerability freely imbue the stadium. By the end of the game I was standing, screaming, whipping things around in the air like a moron, had Xanax-worthy anxiety, and truly wanted them to pull through. They went ahead and lost, and I feel like they did it on purpose just to ruin my life. I swore them off after that. Why would I choose to get mentally involved in something that A) I don’t even like and B) could cause me an iota of additional stress in my life? After that game the Kings were dead to me. Unfortunately they were not dead to Mike.

Of course, the Kings went on to win the next game, earning their spot in the Stanley Cup Final, despite my incessant prayers to the Universe to make them lose. Mike then attended several of the final games, the first of which fell on a Saturday. We had plans to see one another after, but the game went into double overtime, ran for approximately 5 hours, and Mike was exhausted afterwards and not really up for painting the town. I don’t know what came over me, but the Kings rage runs so deep into my core by now that I started firing off livid/psychotic/mentally unbalanced text messages that didn’t even make sense. I literally didn’t even know what I was saying. I have never felt agitation this deeply in my life that I can recall. I felt like one of the mythological Furies had taken over both my body and my text message capability. The Furies were otherwise known as The Angry Ones or the Infernal Goddesses (seems fitting), and inflicted punishment on their victims by literally driving them mad. If you ask Mike, I can guarantee you that I have nearly succeeded in driving not just him but others mad with my inability to get on board with the resolute Kings love. I screamed over the phone, screamed in my texts, screamed in my room, threw things for dramatic effect, and then I turned on Orange is the New Black to marathon my way into a restless sleep.

One week later the Kings went on to win The Stanley Cup on a Friday night. The original plan was to watch the game at home with Mike (which I begrudgingly agreed to), but he ended up getting tickets to the game and we made plans to see one another after. History then cruelly repeated itself and the game went into double overtime (again) and lasted 47 hours (again). I spent the entire game wishing it were possible for both teams to lose, for the Stanley Cup to burn in hell for all of eternity, and wondering if there was anything I could personally do to end the sport of hockey. I then had had another outburst (confined this time to text message only), and stayed home again to watch Netflix and not go out so as to not ruin Mike’s Stanley Cup High (see how generous I am?).

If I were a self-reflective person I would realize that I don’t really have hobbies outside of things like donuts and pizza, and therefore it would behoove me to try to find something I am passionate about to occupy my mind. That seems like way too much effort, so I’ll likely continue to focus my spare time funneling all of my negative energy in the direction of the Kings in hopes that they will one day become extinct.

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