Stunned. Disbelief. Head down. I’m not talking about the Concordia Stingers women’s hockey team. I’m talking about myself.
The season was over. Just like that. Five seconds until overtime, and the game that was dangled before us was quickly snatched away.
That’s right. Us.
Now I know I had as much to do with the game as a mysteriously missing Buzz (which is to say none), but I can’t help but feel, like many Concordia fans surely felt last Friday night at the Ed Meagher arena, that I was with the team when it all happened.
The first thing they teach you in this world of journalism is that you can’t be a fan. Oops. But, when I think of it, I’m not a Stingers fan. I’m a Canadiens fan. These Stingers, these students, these people are just that to me. They are not merely names and numbers. I know them. They go to class, some have part-time jobs, all are extremely devoted. I see that, I watch them; I can’t help but pull for them. Cut my left wrist and I bleed maroon, the right and I bleed gold.
Along with their season as players, my season as a journalist is over. And while I look forward to not having the time obligations, I already miss it.
This is the third women’s hockey season I’ve seen end, and it doesn’t get easier. Never has it ended so abruptly. Never has it ended so tragically. Three straight losses at the National Championships in 2005. A 3-0 loss to the Ottawa Gee-Gees in 2006. In 2007, this.
Standing by the locker room, waiting to do interviews and seeing therapists, then players with swollen, red eyes. Emotional. It was hard to talk to them. Heck, I’m so shy it’s hard to interview them after a win. But this? I was watching them speak, listening to their voices shake, watching their efforts to hold back more tears from falling. I couldn’t help but feel the tears coming myself. I fought them off on the 15-minute walk home that turned out to be 30-minutes (thanks in part to my street being a moguls course even Jennifer Heil would have trouble with).
Sports are funny like that. The finality of it all. It’s such a major commitment that when it’s over, Spring is on the horizon and you can’t help but ask yourself what’s next. Even as a reporter.
I don’t know how many, or if any, members of the Stingers women’s hockey team read The Concordian, my articles, or this column but it’s been a pleasure. For most of you, I’m just the guy who stands at the top of the arena every game, or the guy who sits on the bus and hardly says a word. But I’m a guy doing a job, and thanks to you it’s enjoyable beyond measure.
At the end of the day, I still have one year left. But when I was interviewing Andrea Dolan at the side of the bench while she was still in full uniform a good 25 minutes after the game seemingly not wanting the season, or possibly her Stingers career, to end and then watching several Stingers who had played their final game leave the locker room, I couldn’t help but take a moment, sit in the stands and think that in one year, I will be holding my pen, notebook and recorder for the last time at the Ed Meagher arena.
For some, they will continue to play hockey just as I will continue to do journalism, but closing a chapter on a part of your life that you’ve known for so long is always a hard thing to do.
Kudos to everyone
Last week, I made it clear that the Concordia-McGill playoff series in women’s hockey was an opportunity to see how far equality of men’s and women’s sports has come (because of it being the exact same situation as the men faced one week earlier), and it was a good result. The Gazette had a reporter at both games, and game two at Concordia on Friday night was well attended despite the snowstorm that hit the city. It was especially nice to see the entire (or close to it) men’s hockey team out to support the women’s team. When athletes rally around each other, there is no nicer thing to see.
Let the Madness begin
It’s March, and we all know what that means. Join The Concordian staff writer Ben Raby for a March Madness preview show this Sunday on the
Team 990 from 8-10 p.m.