Sunday, September 9, 2007

Sermon on Bear Mountain

Scoot down the list of Canadian hockey clichés and you’ll get to “hockey is our religion,” a slick little sound bite masquerading as a truism. Since I haven’t been to church since they left me off the Sunday school picnic roster (St. Mary’s Anglican), it’ll do. But come on: different quality of worship, depth of contemplation, spiritual dimension. Plus, no need for shiny shoes.

Let’s get tautological and just make religion our religion. I did not get up, dress nice, and go to church this sunny Sunday morning. I got up, dressed warm, and watched Canucks prospects while Canada geese ripped up the nearby soccer pitch, silverhairs chortled over on the Par 3, and no one yet guzzled sports drinks seductively on the beach volleyball court.

Bear Mountain Arena didn’t smell of century-old Douglas fir floors and the choir’s crop-dusted Evening in Paris this morning. The French fries already promised transfat paradise and the thongsters c-phoning in front of me—Britney/Chelsea/Tiffany—wore such fragrant unguents in their hair I had to move seats or tempt migraine.

I didn’t sing high and warbly, but I did gasp and say “Holy shit” to no one when big Swedish-Iranian Daniel Rahini refused to back off his check.

I didn’t pray at all, but I did hope hard that our terrier du jour, Mason Raymond—who the Canucks vets good-dogged last week—continues to root out and chew up loose pucks. But even a terrier has to back check, right? And how many of these fast little buggers have we tried (Brandon Reid et al) only to watch them skate snout-first into Alpha-dog Chris Pronger’s big ugly knee?

Sunlight didn’t stream through stained glass and fall colourfully across the shoulders of a chosen one, but I must say defenceman Alex Edler—6’3” and 194 pounds—resembles the second coming of a skinnier Mattias Ohlund, or a taller Nick Lidstrom. Bless the Swedes for they will become us.

I did not worship, no. But I really liked Dan Gendur, Shaun Heshka and Taylor Ellington.

And, lo, I didn’t regret my trespasses or vow to improve myself, but I really wanted to explain the Protestant work ethic to Luc Bourdon—(as mediocre David Foster once said to under-achieving Michael Buble, “Good is the enemy of great, kid.”)—and also eyeball the stats he put up in last week’s fitness tests. He’s looking a little New Testament for my liking.

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