Love and Hockey- A Balancing Act

During the first year after meeting my wife, a year held so fondly in my memory, I recall her remarking “you know, that’s one thing that I love about you, you really aren’t into sports at all. It’s so refreshing”. I remember smiling awkwardly and thinking to myself “should I say something here? No, better not. Some secrets are better left secrets.” I just paused and said “I know this great lounge in the lower east side. Let’s go for a drink.”

What I couldn’t bring myself to tell her was that it was the NHL lockout year. And should she stick around, she would have to eventually come to terms with a bit of unhealthy obsession. Islander hockey.

Valentine’s Day is my least favorite of all the holidays. When I was single, it was depressing. And now that I’m married, I always feel pressure to live up to Hallmark expectations. At my office on Thursday I saw several guys scribbling feverishly on cards as single people walked around an office replete with floral arrangements and teddy bears adorned with red ribbons. The holiday reminds me of “couples only” dances at weddings. I sometimes feel we could do without them both.

That said, the holiday stirred up some amusing anecdotes from the past few years of my life as I have traveled the road that few brave men have traveled before me, the one that intersects relationship drive and hockey boulevard.

This past Saturday as I was watching the Islander game I saw Billy Guerin doing a spot which basically said “If you still haven’t gotten that Valentines Day present for your loved one, the Isles have an idea that will work for you”. They were pushing the Hockey and Heels promotion for Tuesday night’s game vs. the Flyers. I thought to myself “now there’s an idea. What a night out! Honey, come here. I know what we are doing for Valentine’s Day.” Well, we watched the remainder of the game in awkward silence as I thought to myself “how could Billy Guerin steer me so wrong?”

Last year, we introduced a new member into our family, a framed and matted autographed photo of Denis Potvin. “Norris x 3”, it read “78, 78, 79”. I remember the sheer excitement as I walked back from the framing store with the Captain’s photo wrapped in brown wrapping paper. I couldn’t wait to get it up. Perhaps understandably, my wife did not share my enthusiasm. As I raised the photo onto our wall she looked like a Ranger fan watching number 5 being raised to the rafters at MSG. Mental note- future raising of the photo events at my house will likely take place in the closet.

Over the years I’ve subjected my wife to myriad jersey and memorabilia purchases, Islander games against defensive minded teams, and several instances of seemingly random screaming at the television screen. It can be a difficult balance, but we get through it. And for the times when I get a little too crazed during the season, I always remind her “You never know, there maybe be another lockout soon.” And then I promise to take her to that lounge in the lower east side, where we can reminisce about the times when I didn’t care about sports.

Well, maybe with one exception.

16 comments:

7th Woman said...

I love it!! This was great! Don't worry Jim. She'll come to terms with the addiction... she will.

Anonymous said...

I have come a long way :)
XOXO

Uncle Jr. said...

LOL amazing post!!! I too met my wife during the lockout....i remember my mom's words to her "Enjoy him dear, once the lockout is over you'll only see him in the summer" lol

Jim McGlynn said...

Uncle Jr. That's amazing. I thought I was the only one. My mom didn't give me up though, my poor wife found out the hard way!

Ken said...

Is three a crowd? I met my wife during the summer right before the lockout season. We were engaged before the Islanders ever played another game. I think she kind of knew what she was in for, though, because there was still baseball. Except now it's a year-round thing. And, Jim, now we've also added another level with the Blog Box. Let's hear it for tolerant wives!

Tom Liodice said...

Jim great story! I got nothing that compares to that...but I tell every girl I have went out with, "I have a problem, and you must deal with it!" LOL

Uncle Jr. said...

Jim and Ken ... i cant help wondering if there was no lockout would we be single couch potatoes?
LOL in my case probably !!

Jim McGlynn said...

Uncle Jr, thats an interesting point. I would still be sitting in a shoebox apartment in lower Manhattan blogging from the smallest bedroom North of Virginia while drinking Natty Lights.

Uncle Jr said...

So the lockout was good for something after all. And here i thought Eklund and his Hockeybuzz was the only one to benefit from the lockout. LOL ... LETS GO ISLES
def 2 winable games tonight vs. Was and tomorrow vs. TB. (Even with the D in a mess)

Islanders Outsider said...

I'd like to think we would have made it through anyway! Granted, I pass on watching some games, or parts of games, now for the good of the marriage. But it's probably better for my health that way anyway!

Uncle Jr said...

ha ha ha yeah outsider i hear ya ... its not easy being an islander fan ... lose 7, win 5, will the real Isles please stand up??? On another note if i may ....

i just read in Newsday that Chris Simon will be in the lineup tonight vs. TB. What the heck????? Lets put aside that Simon may be better suited for the looney bin instead of a hockey rink … what message is this sending ? Neilson or Tambs will be sent down to make room for Simon. No kiddies, hard work doesnt get you to the NHL … being buddies with the coach does.
The Isles are playing arguably the best hockey of the season right now and in my opinion changing the lines would be foolish. How can Nolan do this ??? I just dont get it.

Jim McGlynn said...

Hey uncle jr. I can totally appreciate your feeling that we can't break up the kid line, especially now. What I can't stand to see though, is Blake Comeau gettin punched, boarded, speared in terrible places, and generally manhandled anymore. We need an enforcer badly. Its a tough spot, but we need someone.

Uncle Jr. said...

Point well taken Jim but in my opinion there are other ways to get the toughness element. You could promote Kip Brennan from the bridge (he has nothing to do since he got suspended)(i'm not sure though if the NHL honors AHL suspensions). You also could pick up a tough guy for close to nothing these days (like a 7th rounder) Just my 2 cents. Personally i would have never gotten rid of Goddard who is now with the Flames.

Jim McGlynn said...

Its hard to argue with you, you make a valid point. I would think there are rules that would prevent Brennan from playing for the Isles now, but I'm not sure. He's a tough, tough, dude. I'll give you that. I guess this goes back to Simon's bond with Nolan. And I trust Nolan enough to make that call. I hope I'm not wrong.

Islanders Outsider said...

By the way, sorry about switching IDs in the middle of the conversation. I'm having an identity crisis!

I can't say that I'm at all surprised that it was Tambellini who went down. With Sillinger still out, a center (Nielsen) is needed, and Tambellini once again didn't give Nolan enough of a reason to make him think twice. Next week will be interesting. Will a trade open up a spot for Tamby to come back? Or will he be the one traded?

A poorly organized band of hockey fanatics said...

I too have a wife who "tolerates" my hockey addiction. Every now and then I even get her to go down to Chicago with me to take in a Black Hawks game. During the game, I'll look over at her to see if she just saw that great pass and I can tell she isn't "there"; she's off thinking about work or the kids or something, but she goes and we end up having a great time.......at least I know I do....hmmmmmmmmm