Its been a tradition for a few years now. Every Thanksgiving started the same. My day before Thanksgiving hockey game with one of my best friends Sarah. It started several years ago, right when Anderson first joined the organization. Back when we didn't have little man, we were still just the engaged couple and going to hockey games seemed like an appropriate way to kick off the holiday season. It also was Sarah and I's first official hockey game together. Which is how the whole tradition started anyway. After the game, win or lose we found ourselves at IHOP waiting on Anderson to finish. We would spend hours there, drinking stale coffee and flat soda while we downed those pancakes and listened to some horribly awesome music. The kind that you almost expect to hear during such an hour in the middle of a 24 hour diner. Anderson would break down the game for us,mentioning things here and there if we didn't understand. Because back then we weren't the experts of the sport that we pretend to be today.
As the years have gone by the tradition has changed a little, with a son I guess you would expect it. We still would hit up the game, and the diner, but sitting until 2 in the morning wasn't as feasible. Nor as recommended. I don't think I can even remember the last time I saw two in the morning, other than when little man was an infant that is. And there was a time or two that we skipped it all together for travel purposes, exhaustion or other reasons that are escaping me now. But for whatever reason we still hung to the game. No matter what. This was our tradition. If we did not make it to any other game together during the year, we would be there.
Sarah said it best when she mentioned how it often wasn't about the outcome, or who it was against-which most of the time it was the Trashers, now Jets. It was about the evening. About our friendship and just the whole time together. It helped form who we became. The bond that kept us together...
But not this year. Thank you NHL lockout, my traditional hockey game and IHOP at 2am has been cancelled. The thought saddens me a bit as I was as I always am looking forward to it. It wasn't unexpected. I mean I pretty much knew it would not be happening this year. But maybe a bit of me was hopeful that something would be worked out. That the season could be saved. Now I don't know if I hold out any hope in even that happening.
Whether this bothers the players, or the owners in anyway I have not one clue. I know they could care less about my tradition. In fact they have no idea it even goes on. Sometimes I wonder if they even miss or care about the lockout, After all most of them are overseas playing in their home country, they are still getting some sort of income. And while there are a few Americans who will be celebrating Thanksgiving at home with their own families come tomorrow, I doubt hockey will even be on the forefront of their minds.
But here back at home. A day before Thanksgiving, and what is traditionally known as hockey night...
Well here, it won't exactly be the same.