I love baseball. True fact. But this past week I read The Complete Essex County and it was about small-town Ontario life and hockey played a big part in it. Today was Hockey Day in Canada so while I worked my afternoon away I took the opportunity to stream NHL games and feel a bit more stereotypically Canadian.
There is something about the way a hockey game is called that is calming just because of its familiarity. While baseball commentators on TV or radio can annoy the hell out of me (Buck, McCarver, Morgan) because of the inanity of what they say, I barely hear the words coming from the hockey game. I know friends of mine have strong opinions of who is damned good at their job in the booth hanging over the ice, who should never be allowed near a mic and who should have retired fifteen years ago, but to me hockey all sounds the same. It’s just this chanting cascade of names in succession (Tanguay to Jokinen to Iginla to Jokinen shoots Luongo saves), and it’s soothing as all hell.
Sean, who preferes football, and I have talked about the American ability and proclivity to mythologize the fuck out of things (he’s better at explaining it than I am). Listening to these games today I was thinking about how the announcers’ hockey chant is less a mythologizing than a ritualizing. In the game itself there’s no room for much more than the names, while baseball announcers have epochs to tell stories between pitches. Baseball’s got sagas while hockey’s doing rosaries.
Kind of bullshit, I guess, but something I might keep in mind. For future refinement.