SOMETHING strange happened to me on my way to being outraged that the NHL is locked out again: It turns out I don't care.
I'm not going take the "I'm never coming back!" jilted lover approach. Everyone knows that's a lie - we always come back. Maybe they won't come back in Phoenix, but really, were they ever there? Here in Canada we always come back. I know I will. In the meantime, however, I don't care.
Obviously no regular season games have been lost but if they are, I'll still be OK.
Take all the time you want, suits. The truth is I've got other stuff to do. Nothing as exciting as Wild vs. Ducks on a random Wednesday in January, but still.
Perhaps this attitude of mine stems from where I'm at in life. Where's that you ask? On the couch and full of stew and laziness, at the moment. But that's not what I'm getting at.
I mean a pre-middle aged man, husband to a lovely wife and father to a rascally two-year-old who will keep repeating "teddy bear, teddy bear, teddy bear" for half an hour in the car until we play the delightful children's song "Teddy Bear Picnic" for him.
That little guy loves to play sports. His version of "hockey ball" is to grab anything within reach and take a slap shot with it. Right now his stuffed tiger ("tiger ball!") and his mini football ("football ball!") are his favourite sticks. At the moment, playing "hockey ball" is 1,000 times more fun for me than watching hockey.
I'm also at the point in life where I have the business sense of an eight-year-old. My business knowledge comes mostly from my time spent watching that old cartoon The Raccoons. Cyril Sneer made some questionable ethical decisions but you can't deny his thriving lumber business made him the highest roller in Evergreen Forest.
For business problems not involving do-gooder raccoons or pig henchmen, however, I'm out of my depths. The lockout takes hockey out of the sports world and into the business world and I'm just not ready to follow.
Earlier this week a spirited owners vs. players debate broke out in the newsroom. As the resident sports guy I was called on to give my in-depth analysis of salary caps and salary floors, escrows and revenue streams.
Escrows? Is that the thing where one crow dresses another crow up like a baby in a diaper and then they start singing show tunes and . . . oh never mind. I wasn't much help.
Have fun with your money talk, lawyers. Call me when the puck drops.
Maybe it's just me though - maybe other people are devastated by the news that the NHL season might not start on time. I got to thinking: Who would that be?
It's not kids. Many kids love supporting NHL hockey teams but, as far as I can tell, actually watching the games is a pretty unimportant part of that. As long as they get a new jersey for Christmas they're happy - they have a million other things to keep them entertained. I'm sure there's a wicked fun NHL lockout app being developed as we speak that they can all play on their iPads.
It's not women who'll bemoan the loss of the NHL. Many women love hockey but all the ones I know aren't going to lose any sleep over this - they're too busy getting all the top marks in school and taking all the good jobs that men don't have the patience or brains to get anymore. Also, shoe shopping.
It's not seniors. Many old-timers enjoy the hockey but, at least here on the West Coast, they seem to be too busy climbing mountains and running track and field to pout about a little lockout.
It's not even sports fanatics. Hockey's cool but there's always something else to fill the void. Baseball becomes not terrible in October. The CFL is always fun and fantasy football keeps the NFL rolling every Sunday despite the presence of replacement referees who exhibit all the authority of a substitute teacher doing Grade 8 French the day before Spring Break. And then there's basketball. Don't tell anyone, but if random NHL and NBA games are competing head-to-head for my eyeballs, I'll always choose Heat over Hurricanes.
Heck even soccer is a viable option these days, what with HD television turning the far-off fuzzy blurs that used to show up on-screen into a crisp ballet of beautiful dribbling and diving.
So who does that leave to weep over a lockout? Only single, disenchanted young men, the type of guys who can run wild when combined in the right mix of anger, testosterone and . . . uh oh. There are no plans to throw big parties and broadcast lockout specials on huge screens in downtown Vancouver, are there? This could be trouble. Somebody get those raccoons on the phone. . . .