When your adopted town constantly looks down its nose at your hometown, you have two choices.
Before we get to that, let me explain. I’m from Edmonton, Alberta. Home of the wild rose, incessant blowing dust and an epic river valley no one is allowed to casually explore unless you drive an hour away and slowly float back into town.
I moved to Vancouver three years ago to start a writing company and chase my dream of coaching hockey. I grew up an Edmonton Oilers fan, so watching the Calgary Flames cheat their way past seven years of rebuilding in one season to make the playoffs stings a little. The fact they’re facing the Vancouver Canucks in the first round is salt in the wound worthy of Lucifer himself.
“Ha ha the Oilers are the embodiment of sucktitude,” my elderly and out-of-touch friends laugh.
“Ha ha nice hat, what are you an Oilers fan?” the slack-jawed dum-dums with whom I’m forced to work eloquently opine.
You see, living in Vancouver, where fans of the local hockey squadron are more concerned with Ryan Kesler’s inability to mesh with the Sedins while Roberto Luongo wavers on playing professional ice hockey in one of our planet’s most picturesque cities cuts into my blue and orange heart like a Taylor Hall rush cuts into the dreams of Pacific Division defenseman.
In short, it frightens me. I’m frightened that my kid-less adult years will be spent tuning out part-time Canucks fans and gritting my teeth as on-air commentators salivate over the Flames’ never-ending abundance of grit and truculence.
But I didn’t lose hope. I’ve paid for and watched nearly every Oilers hockey “game” since I’ve lived in Vancouver.
So, back to the beginning, two choices: throw in the towel and jump on the Trevor Linden bandwagon?
Or spit in the faces of the naysayers and cast aside any doubt of your loyalty for eternity?
You see, there comes a time when the only piece of your home you hold on to is such a meandering spectacle of ineptitude that you’re forced to raise your crying eyes to the heavens after another smug chuckle at your fandom and beg the hockey gods for a sign that your faith shall be rewarded.
And this weekend, those prayers were answered, fellow Oiler fans. For indeed our quiet soliloquies aimed at the only gods that truly exist (for the one true god surely turned its back on us spring ’06) can finally carry water. Or chop wood. Or whatever.
Finally, the sins of Mr. Pocklington have been repented. Finally a league that owes half its teams to the glory bestowed upon it by The Great One, a prodigy himself who learned the ropes in good ol’ Our Town, the River City, will tremble at the weight of the Mighty Oil in due time.
The City of Champions. No matter what.