Instead of sitting down in front of my brand new glorious 36 inch LCD with an adult beverage in my right hand ready to scrutinize over the 2012-2013 version of my beloved Red Wings during NHL pre-season action, I found myself completely comatose slouched on the couch next to my girlfriend taking in the latest episode of A&E’s Intervention. Somewhere during the course of the show I realized that I had a lot more in common with 22 year-old Taylor, a pseudo skateboarder turned meth head panhandling for his next hit than I had previously considered. Frankly, the similarities between Taylor and I were somewhat alarming.
First of all, we are both charlatans in the world of professional athletics. Taylor is a wannabe skateboarder while I’m an up-and-coming beer league hockey superstar. Secondly, like Taylor, my addiction has left a long list of relationship casualties in its wake. Friends, family, and significant others have all tried to intervene but to no avail. Ultimatums and dressing-downs such as: “It’s the Red Wings or me,” “Can you at least turn the game down when I speak to you?” and “My show is on you don’t need to watch every game” have become habitual patterns in a cycle of hockey dependence I call my life. Lastly (and more importantly) both Taylor and I would do just about anything to get our next fix. In the interest of full disclosure I must admit that pawning loved ones valuables or coercing a meek grandparent out of their last fifty to cover the latest NHL Centre Ice bill is never out of the question.
However, before we go any further let me make something perfectly clear: I do not have a problem. I could quit hockey at anytime. I still make it to work everyday. Not once have I called in sick with a Red Wings hangover (although after game 5 in Nashville last spring I came pretty close).
Gary Bettman should know that despite the fact that he’s been dealing me hockey since ‘93, I’ve been to hundreds of NHL games, spent countless dollars on my team’s official clothing, got inked with a Red Wings tattoo, and spent even more on nachos, beer, and Little Caesars once inside the arena… I’m not addicted! You’re not going to take this customer for granted! Honestly, I could get off hockey anytime. You want to take hockey away for another season? Well go ahead! I can quit cold turkey. Done.
Unfortunately, from watching Intervention we all know the reality is that participants on the show rarely have the willpower to quit using all by themselves. Like clockwork we all await that exact point during this hour of fine reality television entertainment when the somewhat more sober members of the family unite to plot the intervention. Led by the addiction specialist the family will give their pitches in an attempt to motivate the person to seek treatment.
As the 12 Step Program suggests, step number one is admitting that we are powerless and our lives have become unmanageable. Who am I kidding? I’m a genuine hockey junkie. I’m hooked. Bettman’s my dealer and I need another fix right now Gary!
If I don’t get any NHL hockey this season, look for me on an upcoming episode of Intervention. I’ll be the depressed, despondent, strung out Red Wings fan arriving at a local hotel banquet room to find my family and Candy Finnigan lying in wait.