Eight days into the World Without Sports, and the withdrawal symptoms certainly are apparent: confusion, irritability, sadness, desperation. It’s just not natural to click on the TV and have no live sports, especially hockey, to watch.
We’ve been instructed to practice Social Distancing to help control the spread of the nasty virus, and that has meant sacrifices. Those measures, however, don’t mean we need to practice Hockey Distancing, because there are plenty of opportunities to stay close to the game while keeping distance from others. Here’s my plan:
Watch: If you’re a hockey fan in Minnesota, it’s a de facto law that you must watch “Slap Shot’’ at least once a year, preferably twice. Here’s your chance. Also, the recent 40th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice means you better sit down to watch “Miracle’’ if you already haven’t. Throw in “Mystery, Alaska’’ and you have a go-to trio. For a fascinating perspective on Soviet hockey in the 1980s, check out “Red Army.’’ Also, you always can search YouTube for a favorite classic game to whet your appetite.
Read: With prep hockey only a couple of weeks in our rear-view mirror, you can experience the sport’s tradition in our state by reading “Tourney Time: Stories from the Minnesota Boys State Hockey Tournament’’ by David La Vaque and Loren Nelson. David and Loren, who spearhead the Star Tribune’s state tournament coverage, take you through the stories, both on and off the ice, of the first 75 years of the event. Their work is informative, educational, entertaining and compelling throughout.
Order: Those bars and restaurants that you frequent before or after a game? They’re hurting, and they need you now. Place a to-go order a couple of times a week if you can swing it. Heck, some of ’em might even have poutine.
Shoot, stickhandle and even dangle: With nowhere to skate, what’s a hockey player or fan to do? Go back to your roots and practice your skills in the driveway or garage, weather permitting. All you need is a hockey stick, plastic puck or tennis ball. If you don’t have a net, a big piece of cardboard or plywood to protect your garage door will do. It’s a simple thing to pass the time, but it also will keep you connected to the game you love.
Sure, none of this will completely fill the hockey void we’re experiencing, but maybe these little steps can help ease the boredom. We’ll get through this.