There are the type of hockey fans that watch all 82 games leading up to the playoffs with zeal, that wake up early in the morning to troll the sports blogs in search of hockey gossip they can discuss over their morning coffee, that wear their jerseys or caps/toques until they stink of pure sweat reminiscent of the players they idolize. How do I know? Because I live with such hockey fanatics.
As a bonifide non-hockey fan, I often roll my eyes when I catch a glimpse of my boyfriend in his fleecy HABS pajamas bottoms heatedly discussing what P.K or Patches or Pleky did last night on the ice with his mother (another die-hard fan). I usually just try to tune them out, but I realize that I am absorbing a lot of important hockey information by simply being in the same room.
Then around the playoffs a magical thing happens, I stop falling asleep on the couch and actually start getting into the game. It's as if I'm possessed by a demon. I'm yelling at the screen, shaking like a leaf from my nerves, and doing superstitious rituals such as crossing my fingers while sitting on the edge of the couch.
I know that hardcore fans will call me a bandwagon rider, or a fair-weathered hockey fan. There's no denying it. But since my whole surrounding universe is about hockey right now my philosophy is that if you can't shut 'em up, you may as well join 'em.
So here are a few tips for my fellow bandwagoners on how to appear like a real deal fan during the playoffs:
1-Wear at least one of your teams branded items on the street or at work in order to get your point across, which is that the universe has tilted in your team's favour. This is even more fun when you live in a city like Toronto, where their respective team didn't make the playoffs. In general, Torontonians are too civil to heckle you for walking around with Habs gear, so you can strut your stuff as if you've been keeping score since 1967.
2-Make small talk with other fans in random places. I've met fans while I was getting my nails done, others while riding the subway, even one at the butcher. It's as if we are long lost relatives finding each other out of the blue. We're feeding off of all the excitement and saying things like "How about ______ goal last night?" or "We better cream Boston tonight!" People want to believe what they want to believe. They probably won't even realize that you can hardly pronounce the players names.
3-Seek out the bars in your city that play the game and try to squeeze in. Once again, this advice works better if you are in a city that isn't your team's home base. When you spot that sea of red jerseys you'll know you've arrived. So make yourself comfortable, order a pint and some poutine, and yell whenever anyone else is yelling, boo whenever anyone else is booing, and cheer like a maniac whenever the fine folks sitting next to you are cheering.
4-Steal your guys jersey and wear it to bed. Nothing will convince him of your recent conversion into sport fanaticism as much as 'borrowing' his jersey for the night. Just don't expect to keep that item of clothing. He will hunt you down for it.
5-Admit to others that you are a 'new' fan. Old time sports fanatics will find it endearing and probably talk your ears off about the entire history of the game. Try to listen, and keep the booze flowing so that it doesn't get too boring or technical. Just don't order a martini. Nothing gives away a non-sports fan like ordering a martini.
Go Habs Go!