Choosing a Tragically Hip song as the Icebucks playoff run continues is only natural. The Hip are Canadian and thereby are hockey fans. And a more obvious choice might have been the classic ‘Fireworks‘ since it’s literally about hockey (and the line ‘she said she didn’t give a fuck about hockey, I’d never heard someone say that before’ seems like something Dave might had said about me when we first met), or maybe their newer song ‘The Lonely End of the Rink’ since the storyline for the Icebucks has become quite wrapped up in goaltending.
For me the Tragically Hip are one of those bands (like Counting Crows or Sarah Harmer) that always seem to have at least a few lines of lyrics in each song that leave me half-jokingly asking ‘Is this song about me?’ I chose ‘Longtime Running’, firstly, because it’s one of my favorite Hip songs in general. It’s not as hard as many of their most popular songs, but it speaks to me. And secondly, the chorus is the epitome of what a hard-fought season leads to.
It’s been a long time running…It’s been a long time coming…It’s been a long, long, long time running…It’s well worth the wait.
In 2009 Dave and I saw this band in concert in a small bar venue in L.A. It was truly amazing. First of all, a year before I was even pregnant this concert brought me into contact with some awesome parenting role models: jammed right up next to the stage with us was a Canadian-American couple with their 13 and 17-year old son and daughter with them. Awesome. Secondly, I had that kind of concert experience that makes you really feel alive, sweaty and screaming and it all culminated with me and Gord Downie having a really special moment (right Gord? I’m sure you remember!) during ‘Blow At High Dough.’ He would scream into the mic and then put it to me and I’d take my turn. BLOW! BLOW! BLOW! I was a rock star. Or at least I had a rock star dripping his sweat on me, same difference.
This song doesn’t have the beat or the pace that you might expect me to choose to help inspire Dave and his teammates at this crucial moment for their team. But it has all the passion and some of the pain that comes for a group of players who are this close. When a season (and a century) of underdog status have taken their toll, when injuries start to crop up in players who are fighting like dogs, when fear and doubt start to creep in after a tough loss, a team can fall apart. Just like that, the high of making it this far can crumble into infighting and finger-pointing and taking the easy way out. That can happen.
But it doesn’t have to. This song is the pace this team needs now. As they prepare for their game, their minds should be calm but their hearts should be fierce. As they look at each other they should remember that we can each only do OUR part and hope that inspires the next person. When they get in the locker room a couple of hours before the game, I trust they will find a faster beat to get the blood flowing. But just before that, listen to this.