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Playoff Journal: Courtney

To me, playoff hockey always meant sacrifice. Sacrifice of the players, sacrifice of the fans, and sacrifice of the loved ones of players and fans. It is without a doubt the hardest time of the year on the mental psyche and it isn’t a walk in the park physically, and I’m talking about the fan, let alone the player. I can’t speak for the players, I know that there is the pressure, the pain, plus blood, sweat and tears that they pour into every game. But what about the fans? What about family and friends of those fans? Here’s my account of the mental prison I put myself through, as well as the physical trials.

For our site, Sara and I have personally tweeted as many games as we have physically been able. There have been a few games where we have not been able to watch but from the start until last night we had been staying up way past our bedtimes. We both work, and the toll of staying up till midnight or later is hard. My superstitions extend before playoffs even start, I know it’s crazy but it cannot be helped.

I met my Dad, Uncle John, brother Brendan, and nephew Brady for lunch on Monday. My Dad brought stuff from Colorado from my Mom for me. The care package included a pair of Avalanche track pants. I called her upon leaving the restaurant and told her I couldn’t bring them into my apartment until AFTER they were eliminated. She asked me why but we both knew it was illogical and changed the subject.

Anthony of The Hockey Guys and I tried to find a female playoff beard equivalent. I hadn’t planned on participating in the not shaving my legs fiasco that I had given Sara so much crap about, it happened by accident. Being SUPER superstitious I had no choice but to continue it. Yes, I was disgusted with myself. Tuesday I shaved my legs, exfoliated, and applied sunless tanner and the Avs started their series on Wednesday. While I would like to pretend I shaved every day or something I don’t. So on Friday when I had thought about shaving I stopped and said, “Crap, I didn’t shave before their win on Wednesday, do I shave today?” In the end I didn’t shave and I justified it to myself that I was running out of time. They lost that night and I told myself I could shave my legs that weekend, that it didn’t mean anything. Saturday I went out with my girls and Sunday I was so exhausted I got in the shower and I had a fight with myself, “To shave or not to shave?” I didn’t, instead I exfoliated and put on some sunless tanner, just like I had on Tuesday. Sunday night’s game was a doozy, we got a huge break and won a HUGE game. I begrudgingly decided to stick with it.

Sunday night the Avs were playing the Sharks and thus my demise began. That night, my heart was racing as I sat in my room, by myself, watching the game on my computer. Yes it was secluded, yes it was anti-social, but that was just the beginning of my weird ways during the playoffs. Watching the Avs start was great, and then Hejduk crashed into Stastny and went off with an upper body injury and all those shots on goal and energy we had went out the door. The Sharks spent the majority of the game in our zone, in fact they sent 50 shots on our goalie to our mere 16. Within 51 seconds of the OT O’Reilly redirected a clearing attempt by Dan Boyle into the net past a stunned Nabokov. A fluke goal, a lucky win. I couldn’t fall asleep until well past midnight, as the game didn’t even end until after 11:30 p.m. I was exhausted but my adrenaline kept me up. I knew then I would pay for it the next day.

Monday at work I was dragging. I was trying not to drink soda so I kept myself from walking down the two flights of stairs to grab a much needed Mountain Dew. My allergies were raging, my eyes were dry, I was sneezing every few seconds, it was a hard day for me. Plus, if I were to be honest, I looked like crap. Monday night I decided it was a good idea to watch the Kings and the Canucks game. Even though I’m biased, the fewer West Coast teams we have in this series, the better. I couldn’t keep staying up that late, and their 9:00p.m. CST or 10:00 p.m. EST start times were killing me. Playoff hockey was supposed to be fun for ALL fans to watch wherever they live. Late start times mean fewer watchers. Anyways, another late night, I didn’t go to bed until past midnight again. Crap I remember thinking, this will not be good.

Tuesday morning I woke up and felt like I had been hit by a truck. Six hours of a sleep was not enough for this 25 year old. Barely getting to work on time the bags underneath my eyes were starting to pop up. My outfits were getting sloppier, I looked like I might be half dead thankfully my boss didn’t give me a hard time because I think he knows how much I love the sport. Glad his brother in law plays the sport and has a few friends in the AHL/NHL, otherwise I’m sure I would have gotten a talking to. Tuesday night I continued my routine: Exfoliated legs, applied sunless tanner, and ate some fresh Strawberries cut in fourths while I sat on the couch and tweeted the Pens and Sens game for Sara so she could tweet the Avs and Sharks games for me. My team lost in overtime, but the Pens won theirs. Another midnight bedtime. My guys played hard and they learned a lot in that game – most have never played in the playoffs before. I was proud, but disappointed.

Wednesday morning I could barely wake up. I felt sick to my stomach and my slide down into utterly disgusting appearance continued. My hair was a mess, my face looked like I was a teenager with all the blemishes, and my eating habits had now been altered. Usually I ate a breakfast bar before work, a snack at work, lunch, and then a sizeable dinner. Since the playoffs started I had been coming home and snacking on dinner food, never really having a normal meal. If I did eat a meal it was around 9:00 p.m. and I never finished all of it. Now my body had started to revolt. I sat in my apartment and watched yet another Kings v. Canucks game and I got that catch in my throat, I felt like I was going to be sick. My stomach started to pump the pre-throw-up feeling and I couldn’t believe it. I grabbed some emergency Girl Scout cookies and munched away at a few of those. Crisis averted. Yet another late bedtime.

Thursday I could tell was going to be a long day. I had been five minutes late every morning, which was not a huge ordeal, but it wasn’t great either. To be fair, I had been taking thirty minute lunches and staying until past five o’clock p.m. as well. I was very nervous for that night because I had something I had to do until about 7 o’clock p.m., well past the start time for the Penguins meaning I was screwing up the routine Sara and I had already started. I checked my phone and saw the Senators were up 2-0 and felt awful panic. I checked again a few minutes later and saw the Penguins have scored to make it 2-1. I called Sara once I finished with what I had to do. She was freaking out a little and so was I. Upon my arrival home I turned the game on, called Sara and took over the tweeting. I ran into my room, turned on the computer before I ran back out and started dinner. The second I sat down to tweet the Penguins scored a goal. I must have been good luck I thought. I continued making dinner and received an email from a friend in Belarus. He’s an assistant coach with Team USA and wanted to call me to say hello. Crap, the game was on, double crap I wanted to know how the team was doing. I asked Sara to take over for the Penguins game tweeting and she did so. I skyped my friend and enjoyed the call. The second I got off the phone I turned on the Avs game. Sara was still tweeting for the Pens, and I was tweeting for the Avs. Oh boy, we should DEFINITELY not have done that. The Penguins lost in triple overtime and my Avalanche got blanked 5-0. Another late night bedtime coupled with crankiness and heartbreak.

It was finally Friday and I felt my body was barely hanging on. I made it through the day by eating my feelings at a Schlotzsky’s Deli with a friend. We have one in my hometown back in Colorado and it made me feel a little less upset. I thankfully choose against going to a Chinese food buffet or anything else where emotional eating could landslide, or Avalanche into something dangerous. I watched the Buffalo Sabres and Boston Bruins that night and Sara took the Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens. Later she would cover the Detroit Red Wings and the Phoenix Coyotes and I would cover the Los Angeles Kings and the Vancouver Canucks. Of the teams that I liked, only the Habs won it that night. I stayed up till about 11:30 p.m. Watching the game. I heard my roommate and her friends in the living room so I decided to venture out. At this point I needed to eat. My throat had started to catch and stomach started to churn so I grabbed the emergency Thin Mints and finished off half of a sleeve. Then it was lights out.

Saturday I did not join the living world until well after noon. I needed to catch up on all the sleep I had missed out on. I watched the end of the game between Chicago and Nashville, it was hard to watch Nashville lose, especially since Marian Hossa scored the game winning goal after a controversial boarding play. The same play that had gotten Alexander Ovechkin suspended and thrown out of the game in the same arena. I caught up on some of the shows on my DVR and waited for the Senators and the Penguins to play. Yet again there were controversial goals, calls and the score was not settled in regulation. The Penguins won the game and the Senators were the second team eliminated. Both Jersey and Ottawa were eliminated on home ice. I was definitely nervous for my boys to play, given the pattern that had started. My boys lost their game, and were eliminated from the playoffs. I couldn’t be angry, just proud. And to be honest, I was kind of ecstatic to shave my legs again. I would join the rest of hockey fans that would be watching for the thrill, not for the glory.

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  1. April 25, 2010 at 9:50 pm

    Haha, Courtney that’s some good stuff. You have issues! And 6 hours of sleep at 25? Wow, you are a wimp! I regularly lived on 5 hrs a night well past 30. But no more, I’m old and need about 7 now, hehe.
    Well we all get a little nutty this time of year. Ain’t it fun?

    • April 25, 2010 at 9:56 pm

      Haha, us young folks require more sleep!! Plus it’s more of the staying up so late and screwing up the regular schedule and eating schedule. Finally had a normal meal tonight so I no longer feel sick to my stomach. Wish our Avs were still in it so I could still be a crazy hockey fan instead of a mere playoff hockey watcher.

  2. Charlie
    April 26, 2010 at 9:07 am

    Just a friend?? More like i had lunch at schlotzkys with my all star podcasting colleague.

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