Sometimes a functional disorder rises up and presents a difficult surprise. It happened this weekend when a virulent case of AHD appeared in our household. AHD, also known by its scientific name, Acute Hockey Disorder, is thought to be restricted to northern latitudes in areas that were covered by glaciers during the last Ice Age. There is some conjecture that ice hockey originated as a hunting tool. A well launched puck can bring down a large animal if well placed. Entire villages could easily gang up on unsuspecting game, thereby providing food and hilarious hunting stories for the whole tribe. Further glee arises if the game happens to wander into the hunting zone from warmer climates and is clueless about the damage a 6 ounce frozen missile traveling at close to 100 mph can do.
The telling moment this weekend was the Canada-U.S. men’s hockey game. My wife is Canadian and to her credit we were both still alive at the end of the game. To the credit of the Canadian team, they outshot, outchecked and “out fanned” the U.S. team. They took twice as many shots as the U.S. and seemed to have set up the Canadian Parliament and 30 million fans inside the U.S. goalie’s uniform. The U.S. came up with two advantages to defeat Canada however. They appeared to be faster and, like falcons, suddenly struck on miscues by Team Canada. The second advantage was the tall, lanky U.S. goalie, Ryan Miller, 6’2” and 174 lbs. As a U.S. hockey fan, I suggest our federal government drop its plans for economic recovery and devote the funds to developing a successful cloning technique for Miller. We may have finally overcome being the little kid brother of the hockey lords to our north, and now may be the time to start work on building a dynasty. My wife, and every other Canadian, rightfully points out that there are still three more games to go. One of the acute symptoms of AHD is prolonged breath holding and I’m doing my share.
Do you believe in DAHD, also known as Double Acute Hockey Disorder? Presently it exists in the form of the U.S. Women’s Hockey Team, and they are in the gold medal match with Canada. To me the women’s team deserves as much, if not more, credit for their accomplishments. First, they have rebounded from their upset loss in Turin four years ago. And like the Canadian women’s team, they are dominant. They have achieved that level of skill without the benefit of being able to play in a professional league year after year. Ice time and experience are key factors to building great teams. The Canadians have the advantage in this area and are the favored team as a result. It is a similar story to the men’s game. So I am holding my breath twice as long.
These hockey athletes and all the other Olympians are inspiring. They have worked incredibly hard for years to meet and surpass their personal best performances. They have formed teams and supported each other. They perform at or beyond the edge in a zone that seems improbable. Some fall, get up and fall again. Still they perform to the best of their ability. They are happy to be Olympians and know the blessing of being able to compete. The rest of us in our own way are Olympians as well. Our game may not be ice hockey, but instead family, profession, or for some, just plain survival. The question is whether we will bring our Olympian best to our own game. The honor is not whether we gain wealth or fame. Those are only part of the story. The honor is in how we play the game, what we learn about ourselves and how that transforms us. That’s the great story that’s unfolding before us.
I may have to eat Nanaimo Bars and drink Canadian beverages if I lose, but here goes: U.S. Men's and Women's Hockey Teams sweep Canada!