hockey will break your heart

…and you won't know it until it's too late

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So, I haven’t posted in 8 months…

…but it seemed like it was time.

Tonight is another game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

This is hard for me.

I know I seem like a bad fan to some people, because my three years of being a Blue Jackets season ticket holder mostly trumps my 20-odd years of Pens fandom. All those years of loving the Pens, and I threw them over in a heartbeat for a few cute boys dressed like Union soldiers.

I see your point. I’ve been a Pens fan since 1989. My one and only Pens sweater is an authentic Kevin Stevens white jersey. I still remember the David Volek goal. That goal, in fact, is what threw my love off its axis and is pretty much the reason for the title of this little-used blog.

Life got busy, life got hectic, life got in the way. I admit to being a less than passionate hockey fan for a while there in the late 90s, early to mid 2000s. And just because I rediscovered my love for hockey in Columbus doesn’t mean I don’t still love the Pens.

But when the two teams play, I have such mixed feelings that it almost makes me nauseous. On the one hand, a team I’ve loved for over twenty years. On the other, a team who I’ve attended almost every home game for the past three years. It’s impossible to do that without becoming emotionally involved.

How do you reconcile those two things?

During home games between the Pens and Jackets last season, the Pittsburgh fans who filled Nationwide filled *me* with rage. I hated that they were there, I hated that they were as loud as the Columbus fans, I *hated* that they were Pittsburghers. Which was weird, as I still thought of myself as a Pittsburgher, since we just sold our house in the ‘Burgh last week. So you can see how much they annoyed me.

And I worried that during the playoffs – which was my nightmare scenario, btw – Pens fans would once more outnumber Jackets fans in our own place. But they didn’t, and it was glorious, and the Jackets came thisclose!

But I hated that Dubinsky targeted Sid the way he did, and I hated that he showed Marc Staal the way to get to Sid and that MStaal then spent the whole Rangers series cross-checking Sid in the head, and I hated that the Pens couldn’t beat them. I’m not always a fan of what the Pens and their front office do, but I am staunch in my love for and defense of Sid. I won’t tolerate Sid-haters for even one second. Same with MAF, although my feelings of protectiveness aren’t quite as fierce with Flower.

Which brings me to tonight. I’ll watch the game with such mixed feelings. Let’s be real, the Jackets have no chance of making the playoffs, even if they’re not mathematically eliminated yet. And the Pens could use the points. I’m not sure they’ll get past the first round no matter who they play – they have too many issues, seriously – but I’d still like them to get the points.

But I’ve discovered that while I may sometimes prefer the Pens to win on an intellectual level, on an emotional one I want the Jackets to win every time. It surprised me the first time it happened, but it’s that way every game these two teams play.

And I’ll probably spend the evening watching the game without Twitter. I’ll probably use – Kawaii Cooking – a tiny cooking show as a distraction instead.

Between Pens fans who bitch about the Pens and who think the Jackets suck and are laughable, and Jackets fans who hate the Pens because they think the Pens are privileged whiners who the NHL loves more than any other team, and who call Sid “Cindy,” I don’t think Twitter will do it for me.

May the best team win.

Argh, no, wait a minute! Not the best team! My team! Whichever team that is. Yikes.