A farewell to arms...and the NHL

I'm sure Hemingway won't mind me borrowing his title for a hockey post....last thing I need is a haunting right now.

Some of you may know me as the guy who introduced Dig Deep to Allie Brosh, thus igniting a passionate love affair between Dig and his keyboard.

Some may know me as the elder statesman who likes to reminisce about the old days.

Some may know me as the guy who broke his toe celebrating Marc Staal's overtime goal against the Capitals in May.

Still others may know me from that DVD on the Rangers winning the cup in '94.

Well, this is...not quite a good-bye. I've seen the writing on the wall for a while, and now that midnight has come and gone, it's official. And since it's been fairly obvious that this was coming I've been evaluating my feelings on hockey, the NHL, life, and the New York Rangers over the last few weeks, and I've made a decision.

I suspect this will be a long lockout (though Richter1994 disagrees with me), and I've seen this movie before. I've reached a place in life where I still love the sport, and that's not something that will ever change, but it's time to let it go.

The day after the 2004-05 lockout ended I was on the phone with the Rangers ticket office securing a season ticket plan for myself and my buddy. At the time, the rep explained the benefits of the playoff plan with our package, to which I replied "Lady, look, this team is probably going to finish close to the bottom of the standings, but I don't care because they're back." At the time, I meant it.

But now.....

Well, I started equating this to a relationship breakup on twitter a little while ago, and that turned into my 'Dear John' letter to the NHL after the jump.

This is not an idle threat. I'm not vowing armageddon. I don't have a dog in a fight between billionaire owners and millionaire players. It's patently obvious they don't give a shit about the fans, so this is one fan who's going to return the favor.

Hockey has been the only reason I've held onto having a cable account, since I can get everything else via methods both legal and not legal now thanks to Apple TV, Netflix, a certain jolly roger website, etc. But hockey in HD? Specifically the Rangers? Nope, I've been content to keep paying $180 a month.

This is it, though. Cable is coming out at the end of the month. Many of you may still feel that connection where you'll come right back when the season eventually starts again.

Not me.

I'll still poke my head in on occasion. I'll still keep an eye out and watch from afar. But this is the end for me as a hardcore fan. I feel it in my soul. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me a third time, FML. But a fourth?

I was young when I discovered my first love.

At the tender age of four, I found the girl of my dreams. Granted, she was older than me, but it didn’t matter. I was introduced to her through a friend of my father, and I spent the next fifteen years engaging in a relationship that was mostly one way.

It wasn’t necessarily unrequited love, but I wasn’t her only suitor. There were others, though each of us could only love her from afar. She was aware of us, she knew we existed, but she wouldn’t commit to any of us. She was bigger than that. She loved us in return, in a completely different way.

There were ups and downs through the course of our relationship. We had our first break-up during my senior year of high school. The timing could have been better, since it was two months before prom, but there was reconciliation after less than two weeks and we continued on, putting our problems behind us.

Two years later we suffered a second breakup. This one was a lot more painful and lasted a lot longer, and while we eventually got back together, something had changed for each of us. The passion was still there, of course, though I looked at her a little differently. I noticed things that I hadn’t before, little things, to be sure, but it was a case of something that couldn’t be unseen. Where she had seemed altruistic and interested only in making others happy I started to see her becoming more selfish and me-oriented.

I chalked it up to changing and maturation, because I sure wasn’t the same kid I had been sixteen years before. If I could grow and change, surely she could, too.

Our relationship ebbed and flowed again, until we suffered another breakup ten years after the last one. This time, we took more than a year off from each other, and in that time I found other ways to spend my time instead of pining for those lost moments we’d shared.

When she finally came back to me and promised to change. I hadn’t seen her lay her soul bare like this before, and she vowed to make things right. After a lot of soul searching, I took her back. I had to believe her. I wanted to believe her. While I had thought I moved on, I found a piece of myself missing without her in my life.

Our reunion led me to believe we were stronger and better than ever. We still had many issues, but what relationship doesn’t deal with problems? Problems will always pop up, and how you handle them sets the barometer for how your relationship grows. Ours seemed like we had finally figured everything out and I planned on being with her until death did us part.

But this isn’t going to be a happily ever after story.

All of the stories she told me during our last reconciliation? They were just more lies.

She told me everything I wanted to hear, and I wanted to believe it was true. For the last seven years, we’ve had a relationship built on a lie.

That lie has been exposed, and now we’re looking at yet another breakup.

And this time, I don’t know that we can reconcile.

I’ve heard this song before. I know how it’s going to play out. We’ll break up, she’ll figure things out, then she’ll come back with promises of how this time it will be different.

Except it won’t be. After all these years I know better than to accept her at her word.

So I think it’s time to break up and move on with life. I may still admire her, but it will be from afar. And it will be with a passion that’s greatly reduced. It won’t burn inside me like it used to. I may still check in to see how she’s doing from time to time once she gets her act together, but I won’t be running back to her.

So goodbye, National Hockey League. It’s been fun. This time, it’s you, not me. I'm moving on. I deserve better than you.

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