Saying Hello to the New Guys

I watched a hockey game last night.

Oh, don’t look at me like that. I’m not adopting a new religion. I stand by my past statements that hockey isn’t my sport.


Long, long ago–or however many “longs” I should be using to refer to my tween years–I was a rabid fan of the Seattle Totems. I’ve still got a couple of pucks with their logo from giveaway* nights. Come to think of it, I’m pretty sure I’ve still got a stick in the closet. (I just checked. Yes, I do.)

* Hard to believe now, but back in the day sports giveaways gave actual, useable items. The Seattle Rainiers provided me with bats I used all through Little League baseball and the Totems’ sticks were perfectly good for floor hockey (I had a great slap shot, but my dreams of playing “real” hockey floundered on my persistent inability to skate backward.) Try using a mini-bat, or worse, an inflatable “bat” for anything more ambitious than giving your siblings minor contusions and see how far you get. And get off my lawn.

Anyway, in those pre-Mariners, pre-Seahawks days, there was only one major league team in Seattle, the late, lamented Sonics. And basketball was, and is, even less my sport than hockey.

None of those early- to mid-seventies teams was very good. Playoffs? Hah! But in my memory, the Totems had a sense of fun and potential that the Rainiers and Sonics lacked.

So, with the arrival of the Kraken, professional hockey has returned to Seattle. And I had to watch their first game, especially since ESPN was kind enough to show it nationally.

Mind you, the game was at the same time as Game Four of the Giants/Dodgers series, so my attention was split. Baseball on the TV, hockey on the iPad. It worked well enough.

From a literary perspective, there are only two ways the Kraken’s first season can go. Either they smash through the season, leaving their competition shattered, or they dive to the sea floor, subsisting on a diet of the occasional bottom-dweller that strays into reach of their tentacles.

Keep in mind that the previous expansion team, the Las Vegas Golden Knights, took the first course. They made it to the Stanley Cup finals in their first season, and have reached the playoffs every year since. So we’ve seen that narrative recently.

Also keep in mind that the Kraken play in Seattle.

So who did the NHL schedule them to play in their first game? Why Las Vegas, of course. No question which plot they’re expected to follow.

They did their best to fulfill expectations. The Kraken looked lost in the first period. Errant passes, missed shots, even a few unprovoked pratfalls. After one period, they were down 2-0, and they made it 3-0 in the second. Then, amazingly, they pulled it together. Early in the third period, they tied the score at three.

And then, of course, they gave up another goal and lost.

Any parallels with the Mariners’ season–a late rush, only to fall short at the end–are to be expected, because Seattle sports. We expect flashes of competence, even greatness, before the inevitable slide into gloom. So it’s good to see our latest arrivals are already in tune with the local zeitgeist.

Whatever you think of the team’s performance and probable future, you gotta admit, though, that they’re way ahead of the current curve in team names. “Kraken” is so much better than “Guardians”, much less “Football Team”.

Will I continue to watch their games? Occasionally. I’m still a baseball fan. I’ll cheer for the Kraken in the same way I cheer for the Seahawks: from a distance, when I think of it. I won’t be doing the two-screen thing again–unless the Kraken make the playoffs. Hey, it could happen: flashes of greatness, right?

Welcome Kraken!

Too Many Choices

It’s that time of year again.

You know, the one where all the major sports are going at once. Baseball is in Spring Training, hockey and basketball are into the second halves of their respective seasons with the playoffs approaching, and football is all about trades and cutting ties with players who’ve been arrested.

On top of that, the ever-popular Oscar season is over and college basketball’s March Madness is just ahead.

And, just to make it a perfect sweep, Daylight Savings Time kicks in this weekend, leaving us to sleepy to figure out what time the games we wanted to watch are on. I stand by last year’s observation that there is literally nothing President Trump could do that would raise his approval rating more than to do away with DST. Okay, yes, resigning would be a more popular move, but it wouldn’t raise his presidential approval score. Somebody tell him how many jobs it would create, reprogramming all the computers and IoT devices not to make the change. Feel free to exaggerate by a few orders of magnitude; he’ll never know the difference.

But I digress.

Of course, this year we’ve also got the popular game of guessing which member of Congress will be next to resign and which member of the administration will be next to be indicted, subpoenaed, and/or censured. I jest, naturally. As long as they remain part of the administration, they’re in a consequence-free zone. Just ask Kellyanne Conway, who’s been found to have committed multiple ethics violations again, but will undoubtedly not be disciplined this time either.

But I digress again. Sorry, I’m a bit grumpy today. I take some consolation in knowing Democrats are misbehaving too. The resignation of the mayor of Nashville, TN is currently the top trending story on Google–stepping down is a condition of her guilty plea to charges of embezzling city money to finance an affair.

Ms. Conway’s latest peccadilloes scored two ranks lower than Ms. Barry. She’d probably have done better with a new act. Unless you’re the Rolling Stones, you can’t get away with doing the same show over and over again, after all.

Number Two, by the way, is searches for tornado warnings after Illinois residents were incorrectly informed a tornado was imminent. Not as attention-grabbing as nuclear missiles, perhaps, but enough to beat out illegal acts by White House employees. No word yet regarding whether this error was also a result of poor computer interface design, or whether the person responsible will cooperate with the investigation.

Anyway, I’m glad we’ve got such a variety of entertainment choices these days. Enjoy your sport-of-choice!