09 February 2007

Dipping a toe into the Well (cross-post)

I originally posted this to my hockey blog a couple days ago--since not many people here read there and vice versa, I'm crossposting it here (with some additional thoughts afterward):

A couple friends of mine asked why I went up on the mountaintop a while back, why I left when all kinds of juicy stuff started coming down the pike and people were surely hanging on my every word about such things as Vote For Rory and Sid Crosby getting chucked from a Dallas nightclub after the ASG cos he’s underage.

I didn’t care much about any of that. I was more concerned with my complete and total inability to get upset over the Hurricanes’ performance so far this season–performance that is decidedly less than stellar.

Had the Cup win somehow made me less of a fan? Had I lost my desire to see my team win? Was I still in shock?

And then it hit me: What had happened wasn’t the win itself. It was the Cup. Specifically, it was my finally getting to lay hands on the Cup.

As I said on HLOG:

You cannot touch that thing after your team has won it, can’t dip your hand in the pool of history and emotion that the thing is bathed in, and come away unaffected by it in some way. Anyone who says otherwise is either lying or dead inside.

There’s a a word for that pool in Old English: mægen. Main. It’s a spiritual energy that every living thing has. To relate it to hockey: it’s what makes a playoff game so electric. It’s what spurs a team on to great deeds. Objects absorb mægen from people that use them, that touch them–ask any craftsman who uses the tools that his (or her) parents and grandparents used if they feel like their ancestor who used those tools are watching over them and guiding their hands, and I guarantee you that the answer will be “yes”.

I keep coming back to the image of Mike Keenan sitting in his living room with the Cup, staring silently at it all night and letting its spirits quietly tell their stories to him until the sun rose and he was finally moved to tears. It’s such a powerful image, seeing somebody so moved like he had looked upon the face of God and touched the stars.

When I silently ran my fingers over the upper rings and bowl of the Cup back in September of ‘06, I plunged my hands into that deep pool of mægen like so many others have done before. In those few moments, I reached back through the years and shook hands with Howie Morenz and Bill Barilko and Maurice Richard and Georges Vezina and Sid Abel and all the other einherjar that have won the Cup and since moved on to play in the Eternal Game, and I came away forever changed by it.

The moment was epiphanic, an amazing moment of revelation where I finally felt like everything really was going to be OK–like an explorer cresting a rise and seeing the Seven Cities of Cibola laid out in front of him with the Fountain of Youth in the middle. I can honestly say that I wish every fan could experience it.

I still feel like I’m not properly articulating how it felt to be quite honest, but hopefully all of you will one day get to experience the wonder for yourselves.


I toned down a lot of the talk, because I know that not everyone who visits the Virtual 'Cue Shack cares for meta-religious discussion. But I think I got the point across pretty well. ;)

No comments: