Oh golly, it’s that time of year again. Aside from Christmas, Hanukah, my birthday, my Mom’s birthday, my dog’s birthday, that old-lady-with-the-ugly-lip-hair’s birthday, Larry King’s birthday (happy 103rd!) and Arbor Day (although it has gotten a little commercialized) this – trade deadline day – is my most favoritist day of the year!
I remember growing up and the way the family would all gather around the pot-bellied stove (for the fumes, not the heat) and listen to the telegraph as it would clatter out the latest trade. None of us actually knew Morse code, but we were all too afraid to admit as much. We spent the night arguing the details of the completed deal, which usually led to some sort of fisticuffs and, yes, eventually a bloodied, but heartfelt group hug (Grandpa’s punching was only surpassed by those big, burly bear hugs of his).
Now trade deadline day is big business. Well, let me clarify that – it’s big business in Canada. Seems everyone has wall-to-wall coverage of the festivities this year (except for the Weather Channel, which is only doing a 90-minute wrap-up show following their Cumulus Cloud Appreciation Day special programming).
TSN (Canada’s incorrectly-spelled equivalent to ESPN); Sportsnet (is to TSN as Dane Cook is to Robin Williams) and The Score (a big cheer for everyone who participated!) has their coverage starting at – get this – 8 a.m. I guess nobody wants to be caught napping should Dean Lombardi get that sudden urge to wakeup at 5 a.m. and trade Kyle Calder for the seventh, possibly eighth, time.
Overkill aside, it is truly a special day up here. People just seem to get closer when they bond over incredibly special events like this, or seasonal holidays, or poverty. I guess you could call it a brotherhood of sorts, a sisterhood if you include women (and we really should, chicks are sorta guys, too).
I’m not sure I can equate this day to anything else sports-related for people who don’t live behind Canada’s barb-wired (and land-mined) borders.
For you Americans, imagine it’s March Madness and The World Series and Presidents’ Day all rolled into one. So I guess it’s kind of like this strange holiday where guys hit basketballs with baseball bats for no apparent reason, but the crowd just loves it and the savings on big-screen TVs is enormous.
Europeans: It’s like soccer (strangely, the action level on trade deadline day and on a football pitch is about equal); just stare at the screen and cheer when it seems right.
For most of us, trade deadline day is a communal event complete with drinking, carousing (not sure what that means, but it sounded nice) and general fraternizing. You can really emotionally-connect with someone when you share a collective hope for the future or a shared despair for the present (Go Isles!).
And once a trade is finally announced, the real fun begins. Sure, it was only Sean Bergenheim and a Zamboni clutch for the rights to David Legwand’s proposed novel, but nothing says must-see TV like hearing a career fifth-liner pontificate (OK, I could have used “argue” instead, but nothing says “contempt” like haughty four syllable words) over why the Islanders should have held out for a draft pick (or, at least, the screenplay).
Then we all sit there like drunken idiots, phoning to inform our friends (who weren’t smart enough to phone in sick) and discussing who got the better of the deal. Then one of us (the one who’s still married) comes to a sudden realization that we could be watching something educational on the National Geographic Channel, or volunteering at the United Way or playing street hockey with our kids.
Some people sure know how to ruin a holiday.
The preceding was purely fictional and meant for entertainment purposes only. By entertainment, we mean we hope you laughed while reading it, framing it, or burning it. Any similarities between this and actual events is strictly coincidental and frankly, dumb luck. Remember to remind your lawyer about the made-up part, OK?
Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN’s hockeysockpuppettheatre, brings you Loose Change every Tuesday only on thehockeynews.com. Subscribe to The Hockey News today to have Charlie’s cartoon delivered to you in each issue.
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