A Cheer The Anthem Public Health Announcement
As my esteemed colleague Bartl pointed out, Of Course It’s A Game 7. Be honest, did you not believe, in the septic recesses of what used to be your heart, that this would be the case from the moment this series was on? It has come to pass, and it’s going to be a tough night. Luckily your frents at Cheer The Anthem have complied this handy 5-step program to ensure that you make it through this experience with at least a shred of sanity, dignity and personal well-being left.
So, here’s our 5 Steps To Surviving Game 7 (because Prime Numbers Rule)
Step 1: Environment
It should go without saying that the place you choose to watch the game should be chosen carefully. For most of us, that means Home, Sweet Home. A “safe” place. Familiar. The snacks are handy and you don’t have to tip the server. Home is certainly the place to be.
However, there are steps you can take to make it a better environment to watch Game 7.
a) Are there children in this area? If so, and unless you want them to turn into Adam Burish when they grow up, they should be encouraged to go to bed early or, even better, packed off on a sleepover. Even in the apparent safety of their little beds, they stand a decent chance of learning some interesting new words as you howl them at the ceiling. This can make for awkward Parent/Teacher Nights down the line.
b) Have you ever truly thought about the number of health hazards in your own living room/den/doghouse? Just take a look around you. So many sharp, hard edges that you may feel like introducing to your skull later on. So many trip hazards while you’re leaping around the room as if termites made of Napalm were taking up residence in your pants. Photographs of loved ones, gazing down at you as you lie, dribbling and weeping, on the rug. Go buy a big roll of bubblewrap, block up the windows with cardboard and remove any items not likely to be improved by being hurled at the TV.
c) While one of the biggest perks of watching the game at home is that pants are, indeed, Optional; bear in mind that pizza-delivery, Police and Animal Control Officers (called by anxious neighbours who reckoned, from the sound, that an angry wolverine was loose in your home) do expect some sort of lower-body-coverage. Keep a pair on a hook by the front door.
Of course, some brave souls will go to a bar to watch it. We applaud your reckless courage from the Fort Kickass we’ve constructed from the sofa cushions. Bars are great, in that they provide the refreshments for a small consideration and you don’t have to worry about cleanup. However, the downsides are that there will be Other People there, who may have the audacity to have their own thoughts and opinions on Game 7, however misguided and wrong. Pants are also mandatory (unless you go to much more interesting bars than we do)
Finally, the Elite will be going to the game itself. We salute you. Really, the only thing to do, in this case, is to bear in mind that you’re in a building with 20,000 people who are as completely insane as you are right now. Remember that, and you’ll be fine.
Step 2: People
Specifically, Other People. If you’ve gone to a bar or stadium, then you’re not going to have much choice about interacting with fellow maniacs. At home, you have a little more control. But there are pitfalls aplenty here, too.
Maybe you decided to have a Game 7 Party and invited people to come over and watch it. You should be committed and probably will be by the time its over. Even if your friends have known you your entire life, are fellow Hockey fans and think they understand what is going to happen, there is no way for this to end well. Battle Royale will look like an episode of Barney in comparison.
Basically, if there’s likely to be anyone in your immediate vicinity whose opinion of you might be altered by the sight of you, half-naked, alternatively screaming and weeping while banging your head with increasing force against the TV screen.. encourage them to be elsewhere. If this means paying for a spa-weekend then so be it.
Step 3: Refreshments
Refreshments fall into two main categories: Booze & Snacks. Both are important but we’ll cover the Snacks first.
What you’re looking for in snacks is ease-of-preparation, consumption and egestion. While the idea of a rib-eye steak, expertly grilled rare, as an in-game repast may seem like a good idea, it really isn’t. If you’ve taken steps to remove people from your area it’ll be YOU trying to watch the game while making sure that the steaks get turned at the right moment. The Fire Department is overworked as it is, folks.
What you’re looking for is starch/salt/sugar that comes in a form that can be idly munched while you focus on the screen. Chips, cookies, pizza, nachos and popcorn are your friends here. Yhe main goal is to get your blood pressure jacked up to Game 7 level.
Booze is vital. “What It Is” doesn’t matter so much as “How Much Of It You Have”. (although I’d avoid Gin and Dark Rum: powerful depressants, those). Here’s how to make sure you have enough booze for Game 7.
a) Think of how much you normally consume during a game
b) Double it because “It’s The Playoffs”. OK, remember that number?
c) Now go out and buy three times that amount. If you think this is overkill, just picture 3OT in Game 7 and you’ve run out…… Right? To the store with you. Once you stop crying, of course.
Step 4: Religion
We here at Cheer The Anthem don’t care what your personal Religious proclivities are.. if you’re crying out to God on the PP, invoking Shiva The Destroyer on the Kill, or cursing Yog-Sothoth, the Goat With A Thousand Young, in Overtime, it all boils down to one thing; the Hockey Gods are in charge tonight and they never really got past that stage where pulling the wings off flies was fun.
You can try to appease them by following superstitions: these may revolve around articles of clothing, seating positions, the number of times you listen to Holiday Road or any other arcane thing you can think of. I have some bad news.
It’s all shouting at thunderstorms, my friend: if the Hockey Gods cared about your well-being, they wouldn’t have made you watch a Game 7. They hate you and they’re out to get you. Depressing as that thought may seem, bear in mind that it applies to all the opposition fans too.
The Hockey Gods are a bunch of dicks, basically. Accept this into your belief system. You won’t be fine, but at least you’ll have some perspective on your torture.
Step 5: Abandon All Hope
Let’s be honest here: even if you’ve followed all the aforementioned steps like Deadspin follows Patrick Kane, the elephant in the room is
Kyle Wellwood that damn Game 7.
You’re up a certain creek without a paddle. You’re on your own. You’re about to go through one of the most hellish experiences a sports fan can suffer. And you’re going to do it alone. Even if you’re in the middle of a rowdy row at the game, or surrounded by your loved ones, you’re still isolated, cut off from the rest of humanity. You’re going to sweat on every breakaway, grind your molars to powder on every turnover, will every shot either on to or away from the net.. solo. Just like the rest of us.
Game 7: Personal Hell Made Universal.
Hang in there.. it’ll be over soon.
This was originally posted before game 7 against Detroit last year.. so we’re in re-runs!