The USA Checklist: Ice hockey on New Year’s Eve

I’ve always wanted to go to a real ice hockey game, ever since I saw Youngblood – one of those movies from the 80s that would never be quite the same now. The 80s was a time when Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reaves stripping Rob Lowe naked and shaving him from head to toe wasn’t at all gay. At the same time, actually being gay was not at all awesome, like it is now. Specially in South Africa, where it was illegal – almost as illegal as being black.

Even without all the shaving, Ice hockey is an awesome sport. It’s definitely my favourite American sport so far. I like the fast, violent ones, you see. So American Football is out – too slow, with all the stopping. And if you’ve been to a rugby game (violent and dangerous) it’s just lame with all its padding and rules; and if you’ve been to a real football game then it’s just kinda weird that they call it football at all. Basketball is okay – I like that. But Rob Lowe never played it. And then there’s baseball, which is boring to watch on TV but may replace cricket for me if I hang around long enough. Golf? What? Fuck golf. Seriously.

So many signs I couldn't take a photograph of anything so instead I focussed on this massive pig-shaped blimp that was dropping frozen yogurt vouchers from the air. Everything - and everything - is sponsored by someone. Even the weird-ass vibratoed singing of the national anthem (which for some reason made my Mom cry) came with a dedication to "America's military forces all over the world."

And yes, ice hockey, for me, like most sports, is largely about the kind of sex appeal that a woman who’s been given every opportunity to develop sophisticated tastes should know better than to feel appealed to by. I feel the same way about the players as straight guys probably feel about the chicks who sweep the ice in tiny little skirts in the breaks. Don’t talk. Just do your moves. I don’t think any amount of feminism, religious indoctrination or censorship will fix any of us when it comes to that stuff.

The ducks goalie can't see me from down there on the cold, cold ice, but nevertheless, I feel we have a "connection".

So ya the Mighty Ducks won. It seemed kinda obvious that they would. They were bigger and their uniforms were scarier than those worn by the Philly Fliers. The fans were very rude about it. They boo at the opposing teams – something that would be considered very rude at a soccer match, and grounds for social expulsion at a test cricket match in South Africa. They don’t applaud opposing teams’ goals. And then sometimes the players get into fights on the ice. The woman sitting next to my mom and I said: “Yeah, it’s encouraged.”

Ducks' goalkeeper Jonas Hiller. Is there anyone whose type he "isn't". I mean, really.

Any way, it was awesome. Even the hot dogs and the lame beer was awesome. Which is good, because it looks like the remainder of my new years is going to be seriously awful – the grown-up equivalent of not being invited to the only party in middle school. My mom’s going to sleep now (10pm) and since most of the people I usually hang out with are scattered all over the USA, I have no plans. Except maybe watching many consecutive episodes of Arrested Development. Actually that’s starting to sound like a really attractive option. Maybe when my SA friends wake up, clutching their heads, their eyes the colour of Natalie Portman’s at the end of Black Swan, I’ll score a little conversation, drink a little of the stale white wine in the fridge. Or just mock their pain.

I guess that’s something to look forward to. And I have so much to be grateful for. Like not being an ice hockey fan from Philadelphia tonight. Or not being a Hooters Girl, who tonight will be forced to serve five free chicken wings to all the drunk guys who show their Duck’s tickets. Like all the stuff I achieved this year – the impossible in a way. But I can’t help it. I got the oh poor me’s real bad right now.  There’s something horribly sad about the sound of fireworks starting to go off at someone else’s party on New Year’s Eve. People are having fun out there. In here, I’m sulking up a storm.

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