I don’t want to jump the gun, but I’m feeling so bold as to say that things are getting hopeful around here. Hopeful that winter won’t last forever, hopeful that buds and mud are here to stay and that snow and frost have seen their last hurrah. This may seem an especially cruel thing to say considering that my loved ones in Michigan and Manitoba have had some painfully cold, icy, snowy and treacherous weather of late. But even though the mercury may not ever sink as low here, and we’ve had to do very little if any snow removal, it’s been a long winter for us. We’re finally seeing signs of the relent. Warmer temperatures mean longer walks with the Real Boy and fewer frostbitten toes at Dave’s games. There’s only so much that layering can do when it’s -10 and your love has you bound to spend 3 hours of night sitting outside watching hockey. In six weeks it will undoubtedly still be winter in Chicago, but when our plane lands and we collect the Real Boy from the over-sized baggage area, summer has officially begun.
I don’t want to count our proverbial chickens before they theoretically hatch, but I’m hopeful that this season isn’t over quite yet. Hopeful that all those who predicted this team would start and finish the season in last place are paying attention now, hopeful that the grinding and creeping that brings this team what success it has had can continue. In the Bundesliga of German hockey, it goes like this: teams who end up in places 1-8 go to play-offs, 9-10 finish their season after the last regular game, and 11-14 play in the torturous play-downs to determine which teams stay in this league which is forced to begin next season a level below. As of this morning we are perched precariously in 9th position, waiting and hoping on good results from a crucial match in Munich tomorrow. And all my hope is gathering, becoming a tornado of crossed fingers and knocked wood. Naysayers continue to say nay, and fans continue to be fair-weather. But players continue to believe in the best, partners continue to cook favorite foods and indulge superstitious rituals. Who am I kidding? I make my own rituals, since it seems to be the only thing I have control over. Is it a coincidence that we generally WIN when I wear my grandmas green ring and forget my glasses at home, rendering me unable to read jersey numbers? I think not.