Not finals, not Spring (although it’s related), not baseball; it’s HOCKEY PLAYOFFS! For this transplanted Canadian, it’s the only time of the year that I can watch hockey with any sort of regularity (like, every night). My team, the Canadiens, aren’t in the playoffs, but I’m so starved for hockey of any kind (especially considering the few times I was able to watch the Habs, they were horrid), I’ll watch whichever teams are playing. Even if it means booing Boston.
It’s one of the few things that keeps me sane while grading, being able to have hockey playoffs on in the background while I sit and read paper after paper, exam after exam. Lest you think that I’m not giving grading my full attention, know that I always work better when there’s something going on in the background. Usually I have music playing, but there is something even more motivating about hockey. Soothing, I guess.
It’s gotten to the point where I can’t actually watch a hockey game; I either listen to it while doing something else (like writing this), or I watch it with the volume turned down, like you were watching live in-person. That might be because when I was really starved for hockey, I would listen to the Canadiens radio broadcasts over the Internet. Or maybe I’m just getting old and I can’t process watching and listening to hockey at the same time.
There aren’t a lot of things I miss about living in Canada; I miss hearing French (I still half-expect cashiers to address me in French, as it’s the law back home in Quebec) and I miss hockey. Maybe that’s why I enjoy reading and writing about French/Québécois literature so much – it’s one of my last connections to home. Even though I teach in an English department, I still stubbornly write primarily (but not exclusively) about French authors (particularly how they are translated). So much of my coming-of-age took place in French, but for me also in translation, it’s a part of who I am as an academic.
It’s been more challenging than I thought to pass French on to my kids, but I can pass along my love of hockey. I know it would serve them well to have a second language for any number of reasons, but for some (clearly irrational) reason, I want them to love hockey as much as I do. Looks like I have to figure out how to get the French broadcasts of the Canadiens games next season. Until then, I can count the days until the Habs have the third pick in the draft and enjoy the quest for the Cup.
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