On this flight, there is no sign of the tension below. Thousands of feet above the world, the only sports represented here are the University of Wyoming wrestling team, and my lacrosse jersey. You wouldn’t know that the greatest trophy in sports was going to be handed out tonight. I’m on an Air Canada flight to America. How fitting. But here, there is nothing.
There was always this promise of air travel, that it would take you from your life at home, and transport you somewhere else, away from your troubles and concerns. I’ve taken a lot of flights over the last decade and more, to places across the United States and Canada. The travel, it was a function, and most of it was fun. Now, it’s a burden. But today, it feels serene. It feels different.
I don’t fly as often as a hockey player must. Every away game means at least one flight. I used to fly at least every other week. I remember a few years ago walking up to the Au Bon Pain in the Atlanta airport, and finding the familiarity comforting. That’s a sign, isn’t it?
But here, on this flight, the tension is washed away. I can watch Johnny Depp play a ridiculous lizard on a small screen in the seat back in front of me. I can type away at my little tablet, and listen to the radio. And game seven? It doesn’t exist. For a moment, I had forgotten that it was even going to be played.
Tonight, after the Cup is handed out, as one set of fans become insufferable for one reason, and the other set of fans become insufferable for another, we will go on. Lebron James was kind enough to remind us that after the games, we common folk will still have our personal problems, and we can go back to our small lives. Which I think we will all be a little better off for.
I’m leaving behind, in Toronto, a temporary home. I never got the feeling I had the last time I was there. I never felt like I could make room in my life for that city. Much has changed there, and the direction it’s gone, either positive or negative, is arguable. It’s a matter of taste. As great as parts of the city are, there are parts I can do without. Every city is like that, but Toronto wore both on it’s sleeve this time.
I’m happy to be watching the game in Denver tonight. I talked about the new Canucks jerseys you saw everywhere in Toronto. It’s a different kind of bandwagon fan in Canada right now. I hate the term bandwagon, but I’m struggling to come up with a different term. The fans who just want to see Vancouver win to see the Cup in Canada. And really, am I any different, hoping for a Bruins win? I have more invested in being against Vancouver, but I’ve liked the Bruins for a while now, and Tim Thomas is…. well, he’s Tim Thomas.
Up here, 35,000 feet above Colorado, it doesn’t feel like game seven. It doesn’t register that fans – and friends – in distant places don’t like each other because of things they are wildly out of their control. Up here, you wouldn’t even know that the hopes and dreams of the players, things they have worked for their entire lives, will be summed up in one game, only a few hours long, and only a few hours away.
I can’t wait until we touch down.
I wrote this post on my flight to Denver, and edited and posted it from Denver International Airport.