In the early 90s, text television was the shit. I’d wake up in the morning, hit the ‘teksti tv’ button on the Finnish remote, and key in 235.
Like many kids in Finland, I followed the NHL (the National Hockey League for all you non-ice hockey people) from when I was barely out of nappies. Keying in 235 on text television took you to the page with all the last night’s NHL scores.
From October to June, I’d wake up to that site like I was summoned to a religious sermon. Every single morning. As did all of my friends.
The methods changed over the next 30 years, but one thing stayed the same: I knew everything that was happening in the NHL. And for the last two decades, hockey’s been the only sport I follow.
Once I moved to Australia in 2007, my obsession with the NHL became more feverish. The change in time zones meant that the games were on during my daytime instead of overnight, like in Finland. With the subscription service, I could watch as much hockey as my bleeding eyes could take.
Then one day last December, I was trying to find more time to read books, write, and get in some cardio.
As I examined my time use, it was clear that keeping up with NHL took up hours each week. Watching highlights (I quickly learned that watching full games is a no-go with two young kids), keeping up with the news, rumors, whatever. It all took a lot of time.
The more I thought of it, the more my relationship with hockey started to feel like a relationship held together by our 30+ year history.
I mean, we still had the spark. But just because we’re still occasionally bowling together doesn’t mean we should redo our vows, tattoo each other’s names on our foreheads, and start a polka band.
At the same time, I didn’t want to end the relationship because being a hockey fan was a huge part of my identity.
But then again, I fucking love a good book.
And so, that same December evening, I deleted the NHL app from my phone and decided not to follow hockey for the rest of the regular season, which would go on until April.
Surprisingly, since the app was no longer on my phone, I had zero urge to keep up with hockey scores or news. I didn’t miss it.
Once the playoffs kicked in, I followed the scores on and off. But this was the first time in, well, ever, that I wasn’t that invested in what was happening, which felt weird.
Not unlike watching your ex-partner date other people, get married, and have kids. I mean, I am very happy for them. And also, thank god we went our separate ways.
What’s the point of all this?
Sometimes we spend our time doing things for reasons that we think matter.
Only when we look deeper might we find that our reasons aren’t ours anymore.