Hockey, Weather


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It’s May in Minnesota and everything is either Hockey or Weather.

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Hockey, Weather

  1. 1. Hockey, Weathereither, or
  2. 2. Marco gets called up before the playoffs.Prelude.
  3. 3. He plays in theAeros loss onSunday.The Wild makethe playoffs onSaturday.He gets toldhes going toMinnesotaafter thegame.He flies out ofHouston that night.There is practice inthe Cities Mondaymorning.
  4. 4. The weather in MN is beautiful.● Its better than Houston.● Its in the seventies, not the eighties.● Theres a cool breeze.● Its very sunny.The sky is BLUE.
  5. 5. Jared complains about how it had finally gottennice out, how it had finally seemed like spring,but then nature decided to change its mind.Marco says, "Im glad I missed it," which isntentirely true.There was a blizzard last Tuesday.
  6. 6. Things he can livewithout:AprilBlizzardsThings that could make anApril Blizzard tolerable:Getting toplay in theNHL
  7. 7. Theres a prediction of snow for Thursday.Marco only got bits and pieces of a real winter.He isnt snowed out yet.Jared disagrees.Marco shrugs. He could shoulder that blame.It might not beso bad.Youre wrong. More snownow would be terrible. If itsnows again its all your fault.
  8. 8. Things he can livewithout:MaySnowstormsThings that could make aMay Snowstorm tolerable:Getting toplay inNHLplayoffgames
  9. 9. This should be obvious.Marco cannot control theweather.
  10. 10. Theyll be in town on Thursday.● They play in Chicago on Tuesday andFriday, but are going to fly back to practice inbetween.● The games are going to be broadcast onNBC.● The AHL and the NHL are very differentanimals.
  11. 11. This is the firsttime the Wildhave made theplayoffs in fiveyears.
  12. 12. It will be the NHL playoff debut for nine WildPlayers.Ryan Suter is the only Wild defenseman withNHL playoff experience.A certain amount of nervousness is to beexpected.
  13. 13. The team spends a lotof time talking aboutthe weather.
  14. 14. Reasons why they might be talkingabout the weather:● The weather is interesting.● Talking about the weather is veryMinnesotan.● The weather uncontroversial.● The weather is something that everyoneexperiences.● The weather has been pleasant lately.● It gives them something bland andcomforting to talk about, instead of talkingabout what theyre really thinking about.
  15. 15. What they dont want to talk about:● The Chicago Blackhawks record.● The loss to the Oilers.● The loss to the Flames.● The Wilds playoff chances.● The Aeros playoff chances.● Anyones health.
  16. 16. This is a bad question to ask:an opportunitya thrashingawkward silencea team that isnt quitehis, but isnt not-hiswho knows,he doesnt,not really.What is Marcogetting into?
  17. 17. What is Marcogetting into?
  19. 19. On the plane from Houston to theTwin Cities Marco came up with aplan to handle the situation he wasflying into.Most of the time he has some kind of plan.Sometimes its even a good plan.This one might be.Time will tell.
  20. 20. Marcos plan:Everything iseitherWEATHER orHOCKEY.
  21. 21. How this division works:HOCKEY is why heexists. It is the point. Itcomes beforeeverything else.Hockey isWEATHER iseverything else. It ispeople, and feelings,and sex, and popculture, and yes, theactual weather. Hecan passivelyappreciate niceweather, but he cantlet any storm cloudsbring in him down.IMPORTANT
  22. 22. Sometimes people are hockey.Sometimes they are not.Sometimes it changes back andforth.Sometimes Marco cant tell.
  23. 23. A personwho asksannoyingquestionsThebestfriendhehas rightnow.A personwho asksannoyingquestionsThebestfriendhehas rightnow.His Dpartner.hockeyweatherthis is is a problemfor example: Jared
  24. 24. Annoying,unnecessaryquestion:How are youhandlingeverything?
  25. 25. It is not a good idea tolet other people knowabout thehockey/weather binary.This is a really healthy split, not acause for concern.
  26. 26. I dont think thats ahealthy way of looking atthe situation. Youremaking it into a biggerdeal than it needs to be.Dont freak out, it wonthelp anything. Andremember, we did thisone time before.That mostly isnt true.
  27. 27. Houston 2011 Minnesota 2013Coach Mike Yeo Mike YeoColors Red and Green Red and GreenPartner Spurgeon SpurgeonSeeding 2nd 8thLeague AHL NHLStakes Moderate HighThere are some similarities, but the differences matter more.
  28. 28. In 2011 they were only twenty, and they didntknow what they were doing, at least Marcodidnt.He was only just done growing, and was stilladapting the extra inches.Jared never had that particular problem.Actually, it wouldnt surprise Marco one bit ifJared knew what he was doing the whole time,on and off the ice, the whole time they weretogether.
  29. 29. Whatever they were in 2011, it isnt whatthey are in 2013. At least he doesnt think so.He doesnt actually know.Hell, Marco is still figuring the whole thing outout.No, he totally knows what hes doing:Hes playing hockey.
  30. 30. April 30, in Chicago.Game One
  31. 31. game time
  33. 33. From anobjectiveviewpointJoshHardingplays verywell.ConsideringthecircumstancesHardingisexceptional.
  34. 34. In the end, they lose.
  35. 35. Suter 41:08Brodin 34:20Spurgeon 26:15Scandella 22:37Gilbert 20:37Stoner 8:18WILD DEFENSE MEN TIME ON ICE
  36. 36. @Russostrib Spurgeon andScandella real goodtonightbeat reporter Mike RussoRough Translation: you werent the reason why theteam lost, have a cookie!Not Good Enough!!!!cookie!
  37. 37. Yes, it is a loss, but itwas a fiercely foughtbattle. Hanging with theChicago Blackhawksand dragging it deepinto overtime is anaccomplishment. Wewere good. Next timewell have to be better.What gets said to make them feel better:Good job. Gohome andsleep. Well doeven betternext time.If we play like thatevery game this isgonna be a betterseries than theythought.Weweregood,but soarethey,nexttime wehave tobebetter.That was a nice start, awin would have beenbetter, but this was ok,we can build off it.
  38. 38. What actually makes Marco feelbetter:● Eating a good meal.● Having a good nights rest to look forward to.● The knowledge that he did reasonably well.● Knowing how lucky he is to even be here tolose in an NHL playoff game.● Sitting next to Jared on the plane and nottalking about anything.
  39. 39. The first of May. Theres snow in Saint Paul.After game one:
  40. 40. Minne-fucking-snowta
  41. 41. I dont know if thismakes me want tolaugh or cry.Its 84 in Houston. The Aeros arein Grand Rapids, Michigan, whereits 85.Its isnt that bad.Its kind of prettyout?That is a categorical lie. Its grey,its miserable, an ugly rainy day.Well maybe its not pretty, but theweather doesnt matter much. Wecant let it get to us.
  42. 42. The weather isWEATHER, notHOCKEY.Therefore, it doesnot matter.
  43. 43. Hockey players are a superstitious lot,especially in the playoffs.It could beworse.Dont saythat.
  44. 44. Minne-fucking-snowta
  45. 45. The sky in the Cities5/1/13
  46. 46. Darcygetscalledup.
  47. 47. May 2nd, travel day.Before game two:
  48. 48. Marcowakes up inthemorning.He doesntknow what hellsee in out of thewindow.Heshouldntcare, itsjust theweather.Will therebe sun, orsnow, orspring, whoknows.
  49. 49. The sky in the Cities 5/2/13
  50. 50. Defenseman Jared Spurgeonblocked seven of the Wild’s21 shots Tuesday — bothwere franchise recordssince the NHL startedkeeping track.“Playoffs, you know thatany shot can be thedifference,” Spurgeon said.“When the time comes and ifyou’re able to get in theway, why not?”A few times, Spurgeon hadtrouble getting to thebench, but he said Thursdayhe is healthy.The Star Tribune Marco blockedfour shots.Theyadmireeachothersbruises.
  51. 51. from an article on
  52. 52. The team flies toChicago onThursdayafternoon.
  53. 53. section of the hotel hallway206SpurgeonandScandella204Koivu202Cullen201Suter(empty)203Parise(and Suter)205BrodinandCoyle207ZuckerandKuemper208UnfortunateUnsuspectingUnaffiliatedVacationers
  54. 54. They are the old men of road roommates. Nextyear they wont have to share.This could be good.Theyll get more space.Marco will be able toalways choose thechannel. He will get to turnthe lights off when hewants. There wont be anyfights over the bed by thedoor because there willonly be one bed.They wont get to talkabout nothing as much, orfall asleep to the sound oftheir mutual breathing.Jared wont be the firstperson he sees when hewakes up, when the worldstill seems half like adream.Or it could be very bad.
  55. 55. May 3, in Chicago.Game Two
  56. 56. This hurts.Refers both to the loss and the shot heblocked in the third with the inside part ofhis knee.
  57. 57. Suter 24:36Brodin 23:57Spurgeon 21:56Scandella 17:58Gilbert 16:26Falk 14:09WILD DEFENSE MEN TIME ON ICE
  58. 58. Thats the word used by the teams official play-by-play twitteraccount.Its a good word.@mnwildLIVE: #mnwild upendedby Chicago, 5-2. Series shifts tothe State of Hockey Sunday forGame 3 at 2 p.m.UPENDED
  59. 59. but...
  60. 60. Maybe everything around it sucked, butscoring his first playoff goal was prettycool.
  61. 61. May 4, they try to ignore the pain.After the second game:
  62. 62. Theyve had less than a week to relearn eachothers rhythms, but theyre already comfortabletogether, like it was easy to pick up from wherethey left off without missing a step.This feels significant.He still doesnt know what it is that makes themwork well together.PRACTICEpractice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practicepractice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice practice
  63. 63. similaritiescanadians, hockeyplayers, defensemen.they both like winning.they like each other.differencesfour months, half afoot, about thirtypounds.montreal vs edmontonplaying left vs right
  64. 64. Theyve known each other for a while now.Theyve developed as people, and asplayers; theyve grown up.They arent the same people they used tobe.The way they function together isnt exactlythe same as it used to be, but the thingsthat are different dont affect how they playtogether, which makes it weather,so Marco shouldnt think about it.
  65. 65. After a 7-0 loss in gamefive the Aeros are out ofthe Calder Cup race.The Aeros were hurt byWild call ups. Marcodoesnt know if theywould have made it pastthe first round if he,Jason, and Darcy hadplayed, but things wouldhave been different.Whenever the Wildsseason is over, Marcosseason is over. Therewont be any more hockeyuntil the fall.It doesnt reallymatter. Its justweather.
  66. 66. May 5th, in Saint Paul.Game Three
  67. 67. The game is on Sundaymorning, and they couldsure use the power ofprayer.Marco has always preferedplaying hockey to attendingmass.From the top of the hill theCathedral looks down on thearena, questioning it as afalse god.The Cathedral is a beautifulbuilding that shines in thesunlight, and whatever oldguilt it makes rise in Marcosgut is weather to be ignored;
  68. 68. @Russostrib Scandella blockedshot may have robbed Kane ofgoal@mnwildLIVE Spurgeon brokenstick, blocks a shot anyway@Russostrib Heckuva hockeygame thus far....Second lineflirting all night and just buzzedthe Hawks withScandella/Spurgeon@mnwildLIVE Scandellatakes a high stick. No call
  69. 69. The tying goal goes over his shoulder.That doesnt feel good at all.
  70. 70. Overtime
  71. 71. after 2:15 minutesVictory
  72. 72. Suter 32:23Brodin 28:26Spurgeon 20:56Scandella 17:46Falk 12:15Gilbert 12:05WILD DEFENSE MEN TIME ON ICE
  73. 73. The day started nice and only gets better.
  74. 74. the sky on the fifth of may
  75. 75. If only all days could be this good; this bright; this sunny; thisvictorious.The team goes out to dinner.It is a celebration.They have a lot to celebrate.There is:the win,Darcys birthday,the beautiful day.
  76. 76. after game threeMay 6, optional practice.
  77. 77. Marco plays with Matt Dumba,whos freshly arrived from theAHL playoffs.Jared stays home to nurse hisbruises.Marco knows he isnt old, itsjust that Matt is so fuckingyoung.How old he feels doesntmatter, its only weather.
  78. 78. The weather is beautiful.
  79. 79. Marco finds himself using the language of weather(natural phenomena) to describe the weather (nothockey) in his life.Relationship Status: partlycloudy, with sexual tensionhovering just above average,and a 40% chance of turninginto something more.
  80. 80. game fourMay 7th, in Saint Paul.
  81. 81. Its a beautifulday.
  82. 82. Until it isnt.
  83. 83. They lose 3-0.
  84. 84. MarcoandJaredare:-2
  85. 85. Marco knows he isnt responsible for all ofit, the whole game was a mess. Hards isinjured at the end of the first, so Darcysees two periods of playoff hockey that hewas almost certainly not ready for. Theteam went 0/6 in power plays for the night,and are 0/15 in the series. They actuallyoutshot Chicago 25-24, and they causedenough trouble to draw those penalties,but in the end its about who has moregoals, not who tries harder, and even if itwas, Marco isnt sure that they would win.
  86. 86. Suter 30:23Brodin 20:30Spurgeon 17:05Scandella 15:14Gilbert 14:38Falk 11:23WILD DEFENSE MEN TIME ON ICEDOESNT REALLY MATTER BECAUSE NOONE COULD SCORE A GOAL
  87. 87. The Wilds playoff sloganis:The end might be pretty soon.Fight tothe End
  88. 88. After Game FourMay 8th, a little after midnight.
  89. 89. The problem withdividing the world intohockey (important) andweather (meaningless) isthat when the hockeygoes bad it can feel likeyoure stuck in a worldwhere winter will neverend.
  90. 90. Its sleeping inthen videothen travel.Even though they need to find a way to bebetter, there just isnt time for practice inthe morning.Marco doesnt want to go to sleep rightaway, and there isnt any reason why he hasto.
  91. 91. Instead of going back to an unfamiliar, unlived-inroom, Marco follows Jared home.He doesnt want to be alone.Jared maybe does, but that cant be healthy.Marco is totally qualified to judge what is and isnthealthy. Absolutely.No, not at all. What is he doing?He is trying to seek refuge insome better-than-averageweather.
  92. 92. they have something,call itcall itcall ithistorychemistrylove**(not the kind of love they sell inmovies. Its team, friendship,existing intimacy plus extendedinterest. Its beginners love,neglected love, unnegotiatedlove, ignored love, weather lovethat isnt hockey.)
  93. 93. It would do themboth good to talkabout how muchpain this series hascaused them;instead theychannel surf anddrink some; theysit and feel sorryfor themselves.Theyre hiding froma lot of things.Some of the things theyrehiding from are obvious,there to see in the waythey treat each other ifthey paid attention insteadof pointedly looking away.Marco wont leave untilmorning, and he wontsleep on the couch, andtheres nothing odd aboutthis, not for them.
  94. 94. The game willstop hurting ifyou go to sleep.I dont believe you.Youre wrong. Illprobably dreamabout it.You can trustme.I do.So close your eyes.Everything is going tobe fine.He does, really, he justdoesnt trust the world.the last things they say before closing their eyes:Marco wants tobelieve this, butisnt sure he can.A pause.Goodnight.Goodnight.
  95. 95. Before Game FiveMay 8th, morning, too early, with birds.
  96. 96. Birds sing. Marco hates them. He wants to keepsleeping.If the Wild had won a few more games going downthe stretch they might have metthe Ducks in the playoffsinstead of the Blackhawks.The Ducks areunquestionably theless intimidating typeof bird.Fuck it.He is going to sleepfor a little while longer.
  97. 97. Marco is going to sleep in because hes still tired andhe needs his rest. They both do. He isnt makingexcuses to stay in bed longer because over the nightthey had moved closer together, so that now, withthe dawn light seeping through the edges of thecurtain and the birds chirping like bastards, Jared ispressed against his chest. Its true, that did happen,that is how they are now, and its nice, but that isntwhy Marco isnt getting up. He isnt getting upbecause he wants to sleep longer. It is very nicethough, half familiar, half forgotten. It reminds him ofbeing younger, when there wouldnt have beenanything unusual about waking up like this. Itreminds him of the best parts of the spring of 2011where they woke up like this more often than not andalmost won the Calder Cup. 2011 was good. Maybeit can be like that again.
  98. 98. Before Game FiveMay 8th, morning, actually morning, for real.
  99. 99. The morning isnt awkward because of willpowerand a lack of time.They fly out early in the afternoon. Marco sits withDarcy. He doesnt see who Jared sits with. Hespretty sure the faint sense of motion sickness ismostly in his head.In Chicago the team gathers in the hotels banquetroom to watch video and be reminded of all theways they have been inadequate. Its just as funas it sounds.
  100. 100. Getting dismissed from video review feels liketheyre being sent to their rooms to think aboutwhat they can do better.Being left alone in their room and not knowing whatto say is terribly awkward.Whatever they do, including nothing,will not make things better.But whatever, its weather, they can ignore it untilafter.
  101. 101. Game 5May 7, in Chicago.
  102. 102. "This is amust-wingame."Theyve been saying that for a while, but itsnever been this true.
  103. 103. Marco gets hit in thefirst period.Andrew Shaw isnt all that big, but Marco knowshow much size doesnt have to matter.Hes fine—for a given meaning of the word. Hesshaken up, he misses a few shifts, but hell be fine.He can keep going.The team can keep going.Theyre going to be fine.
  104. 104. Theyre on the ice for the Hawks third goal.another minuspositive feelings
  105. 105. Marco anxiously watches the power play, hoping for anything.He misses a breath,hearing the loudCLANGas Jared hits a post.No goal, of course.Thats how it works in this series.
  106. 106. Right after that power play Marco is out there with Gilbertwhile Jared catches his breath, and something finally works.Finally,they have agoal.Marco even gets the second assist.
  107. 107. Less than a minute later Shawmakes the game:This effectively kills off allmomentum, and most hope.4-1
  108. 108. There is still aperiod and a halfof hockey left tothrash through.
  109. 109. They do goodthings.They havechances.Quality chances!But it isnt enough.It was probablynever going to beenough.Nothing goes in,and theresnothing they cando about it.
  110. 110. its a5-1 loss
  111. 111. Suter 29:20Brodin 24:43Spurgeon 20:04Gilbert 17:34Scandella 16:31Falk 8:26WILD DEFENSE MEN TIME ON ICE
  112. 112. THEEND
  113. 113. The game is over.Their season is over.But there is still the next game,next season.It isnt the end of the world.
  114. 114. They fly back to the cities and start to put the series in context.It wasnt their year, but honestly, it never looked like it wasgoing to be.They did better than last year.This is called:PROGRESS
  115. 115. Now its time to:rest,regroup,resign,repair.Its time to get ready forwhatever will happen next.
  116. 116. Through the series Marco had:1goal & assist1His two points are good enough tobe part of a six way tie for secondplace in team scoring.He is also the only Wild defenseman to score a goal inthe series.He wishes this was something he could be proud of,but its mostly a reminder of how his team wasnt goodenough.
  117. 117. Suter 31:37Brodin 26:23Spurgeon 21:15Scandella 18:01Gilbert 16:16Falk 11:13Stoner 8:18WILD DEFENSE MEN AVERAGE TIME ONICE THROUGH FIVE PLAYOFF GAMES
  118. 118. BETTERLUCK NEXTYEAR!!!!The universes message:
  119. 119. Fuck it.
  120. 120. now they cant useHOCKEYas an excuseto not to talk about feelings.
  121. 121. useless things they can talk aboutnow that there isnt any hockey:The Mississippi River, video games, science,chemistry, biology, Canada, pizza, the greatoutdoors, shoes, suits, ties, dance music,beards, bears, beers, bees, carpeting, zooanimals, social media, crochet, flapper dresses,breath mints, Iowa, breakfast, staircases, theHennepin Avenue Bridge, duct tape, staples,super glue, plastic, glass, plexiglass, fingernails,papercuts, pain relief, golf, grass, dirt, flowers,romance novels, summer blockbusters, spring,the motherfucking weather. It sure is exciting.
  122. 122. It snows onSaturday.Marco has to believe thatMinnesotas seasons are oneof Mother Natures favoritejokes.
  123. 123. Minne-fucking-snowta
  124. 124. It isnt that bad, theres no accumulation.Its just a sudden flurry mixed in with the morning rain.It hurts more than it should, because Marco has to activelywork to not hate the whole world. Snow this late in the springfeels like a personal insult, sent at him, at the team, at thestate of hockey, from some higher power that is telling themoff for not being good enough.
  125. 125. everything is kind of a messat least thats how it feels.
  126. 126. Everyoneistalkingabouttheirsummerplans.Marco still has toclean out hisplace in Houstonbefore he canhead home. Heisnt sure wherehell be nextyear, but it wontbe Houston.HewantstoneverplayhockeyinIowa.He isntready tostartthinkingabout nextseasonyet, notreally.It feels like the season they have justfinished is still missing a proper resolution.
  127. 127. If thepresent isunexcitingandyoureunwilling tospeculateabout thefutureyoure leftwith thepast.
  128. 128. SpurgeonScandella
  129. 129. they were roommates in 2011(just like they are this year)they were roommates andpartnersthey looked out for each otherthey didnt always sleep inseparate bedsit was physical comfort andsomething morethey never decided what it wasNow theyve reached a point where should decide if it actuallywas anything, or if it is something they should forget.
  130. 130. Marco remembersthe feel of the cheaphotel comfortersticking to the bareskin on his back.He remembers slowkisses.He rememberswaking up afternights where all theydid was sleep.Marcoremembersplenty.
  131. 131. Everything is getting wrapped up and put away for the summer.They go out drinkingas a team one lastteam.What gets said:(loose translation)No more hockey, nomore team.Goodbye hockey,goodnight team.: (See you in the fall.Next year, I tell you, itsgonna be great.Next year.Marco goes home with Jared for one last beer.They still have their own something left to resolve.
  132. 132. This wasnt asmuch fun as thelast time wewere in the playoffs together.Well, that hadbeen a lot offun, until theend.Being out for thelast game felt soterrible.Believe me,playing in itwasnt a barrelof laughs.At least youwere able tohave someimpact, I onlygot to watch.A ton of impact.I was in the box forthe tying goal. Thatwas great.Still better thanbeing hurt andstuck in thepressbox.I disagree.Remember, Imissed the wholeopening seriesthat year.Yeah, butwe wonthat.It stillsucked.Of course it did.Being injured isthe worst.But does it suckmore to miss gamesat the start or theend of the playoffs?This is adumb thingto debate. Oh,absolutely.HOW TO TALK AROUND A SUBJECTI LIKE YOU / DO YOU LIKE ME /DO YOU REMEMBER HOW WEUSED TO HOOK UP SOMETIMES/ DO YOU WANT TO DO THATAGAIN? / ????? / WHAT THEHELL ARE WE DOING?
  133. 133. This is so stupid. Ihave no idea whatwere talking about. I know what werenot talking about.Yeah, that shouldstop. We shouldjust do it.I dont know.We should kiss again.We were good at that.Ok, fine. Good.Kiss me.Dowhat?
  134. 134. Kissing is verynice.Kissing solvesnothing.
  135. 135. Were not going to figurethis out, are we? Weregoing to go home for thesummer, and leave it like anopen wound.You haveto chose abettermetaphor.It can grow,it can wait,percolate.I dont care aboutthe metaphor, I careabout the lack ofresolution. It itches.Just—letme try toexplain it?
  136. 136. Metaphor is a problem, but itmight also have a solution.Things that grow need time.They need rain and sunshine, toexperience a whole summersworth of weather, then they willhave a better idea of whattheyre dealing with.Theyll be back here in thefall—it will be a new season,both kinds of seasons, thelenses of hockey and weatherwill be aligned.They can figure themselves outin the fall.
  137. 137. This wasnt their year, on a lot of levels.It was never going to be their year.But next year—nobody knows aboutnext year—
  138. 138. Next year the season should start on time.Their 82-game hockey season shouldspread over a Minnesota fall, a Minnesotawinter, and a Minnesota spring.They cant predict what the weather will belike in October, in December, in March, or inMay (fate permitting). They can figure outthe weather between them until theyresurrounded by new weather in differentsorts of new seasons.
  139. 139. Now that they have that figured out:We will be.So...weregood?Give them time.Theres better weatherforecasted for the future.
  140. 140. NEXTYEARis going to be something else
  141. 141. Sourcesthe twitter things come from twitter.the star tribune article is from the strib, I forgotto save a link.