The Barnstormer has been running a series during the NHL lockout: Cheap Throat: The Diary of a Locked Out NHLer. It is Day 90 of the lockout, and Cheap Throat has made what appears to be his last entry in his diary. It is, dare I say, a surprisingly poignant read:
They’ve got families, the boys who didn’t have it, but I don’t. God bless Mum and Dad, but back in the fall was the most of seen of them since I was a kid. My relationships last no longer than three months, three weeks, a homestand. Those first few years, when the money seems infinite, and the bunnies are everywhere, it feels like everything. Like you could never ask for more, like you’d made it. But the seasons change, and the Cup goes unwon, and the city changes, and the team changes, new jerseys, new teammates, new apartments, new bunnies, but it’s all old. The body takes more time to recover. The games seem longer, the nights longer still.
I had a girl once. For about a half-season, and maybe I loved her. I dunno. I used to take the shirt she would sleep in with me on road trips, inhale her scent before we went out to the bars after the games, to keep myself in check. When we were getting close to going home, I could feel it. I skated faster, harder, I was fearless in the corners. I felt young again. And it was like that, for a while. But it goes away. She stopped smiling. My shoulder went bad. Had too many drinks on a western swing through Vancouver, and fucked it all up. She’s got a guy now. Good guy. Live in TO. I send them tickets from time to time. And I can feel her there, in the rink, in my barn, with some other dude, who holds her hand, who runs his finger along that scar on her cheek when she’s sad, who shares her bed, who gets her scent on the very shirt he wears to bed. Who never leaves her.
Whether you like hockey or not, it’s wonderful look at dreams, sacrifice and the fading of time