So there I was, settling into a night of watching Hockey Night in Canada, the first night of the Stanley Cup playoffs, switching between the Blackhawks-Wild and Blues-Kings games. Both were fantastic. Both were hard-hitting.
And then, to my rapturous glee, both were headed to overtime.
I thought I'd hit the jackpot. An early Christmas present. Sporting Nirvana. As it is with almost every hockey fan you ever meet, playoff overtime is pretty much my favourite thing ever, and having that doubled on the first night of the playoffs? I thought it was going to be magical.
Boy oh boy, was I wrong.
What would transpire was one of the most stressful, nerve-wracking sport-watching experiences of my adult life. And even though the trauma is great, I am sharing my story with the world, in order to prevent this from happening to others — plus my counsellor told me it would help with the night terrors.
I desperately didn't want to miss either goal being scored, so I reasoned that I could switch channels after a whistle, and during commercial breaks.
And I know what you're thinking, because after the first couple minutes of both OTs starting, I had the same thought!
"Wait, isn't one of my favourite things about playoff overtime is that (OH GOD NO) there are no commercials?!"
Brooks Orpik is your worst nightmare
As we all know a goal can, and normally does, come from anywhere and anybody (Brooks Orpik?!). And so it went: every time I had the TV on one game, I was picturing an absolutely amazing play-of-the-century happening in the other. My plan disintegrated as I frantically tried to catch both goals, wearing down the "jump" button on my remote to a stub.
If there was a machine recording my thoughts when this was happening, they'd have probably captured something like this.
"Ok, Steen's fiddling around with the puck in the neutral zone (switch) agh the Blackhawks aren't even breaking out yet (switch) but wasn't that Toews carrying the puck, what if he does something crazy (switch), but Jackman was on the ice what if he scored from centre HE CAN DO THAT (switch). Why is Chicago holding the puck in its own end like that SCORE A GOAL ah great a whistle (switch). WHAT WAS THAT, why was the crowd saying "OHHHH!" did I miss a chance (switch) it's a scramble in front of the net I thought there was a STOPPAGE HERE (switch) WHY IS THE CABLE BOX TAKING SO LONG TO SWITCH CHANNELS (switch) CAN'T (switch) MISS (switch) GOAL (switch) AUGGHHHH (switch) oh Quick has the puck nothing happening here (switch)…"
I'm not sure if the cable company tracks channel switches, but if they do, and they were monitoring my home at that time (great, now there goes my night's sleep) they probably thought that a household cat somehow managed to drink an entire pot of coffee and began to picture a mouse in a top hat dancing on the remote.
And just like the unfortunate Kings netminder that night, I saved my greatest mistake for last.
I switch back to the Blues game just in time to hear a goal horn in mid-wail and watch St. Louis celebrating like they just saved the world from zombie ninjas. Mark Lee was saying something like "horrible giveaway" and "mistake."
Obviously I was extremely curious and wanted to wait for the replay, and completely forget about the other game still going on.
So there's me, a grown adult(?), standing on my couch at approximately 12:08 a.m., yelling at a television set to show an instant replay knowing full well that television sets can't hear you (yet), then frantically diving for the remote when panic sets in and I realize that I'm missing the other game…
Just in time to hear another half-finished goal horn.
And that's how I managed to do the impossible: I managed to tune in 10 seconds after each goal was scored, just in time to catch crazy celebrations but not actually see a darn thing.
It was like waking up on Christmas morning to see Santa asleep on your couch, all the cookies and milk eaten, and coal strewn all over the place. Oh and Santa needs to "Crash for a while" until the "heat dies down."
So as we enter fearlessly into the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, I want you to heed my words, so nobody has to go through what I did that dark, dark night: Hide your remote! Mail it to Moncton. If you're in Moncton, mail it somewhere else! Just pick a game, and stick with it.
Because there isn't a worse sound in the world than hearing a half-finished goal horn in overtime. Twice.
You have been warned.