GUEST POST: Arto Palovaara – Watching Hockey From Another Point Of View

Russia wins WC

Everyone who is involved in the game of hockey knows that it is one of the fastest and the most exciting sports that exists on Earth. It was the speed and excitement, and the chance to feel glory that caught me into the sport once upon a time many, many years ago.

It was a time when there weren’t that as many trades as nowadays. I still remember how big a happening it was when Wayne Gretzky moved from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings, and we could see how a whole city and many Oiler fans cried over his leaving.

People talked about that trade for several days, if not several weeks, months and years.

The game of hockey would never be the same. Another order had risen. The market completely settled the terms for every team, not just in NHL, but also in the European leagues.

Money talked more than the aching hearts for the clubs the players grew up in.  The KHL might be the clearest example.

A situation that we today in an unsentimental state accept as well…

However, I was a little boy, the age of six, when I begun to follow hockey. It was a thing that tied my father and me together, but that was the only thing we had in common.  He was an alcoholic, and abused me as well when he was drunk.  But when we were at the hockey games or watched hockey together on TV, I hoped that he would change… to be a father I desired. A wish in vain that was, as he never did change and kept drinking instead.

Though, I still kept watching hockey after I moved away from home and lost the contact with my father, and even after his death I continued to watch hockey. He died of cancer about 7 years ago. I also began to write about hockey later on.

But when I started to write about hockey, I realized that I had to let some things go and I didn’t find the game either that particularly amusing as I had before. I found honestly that I had not accepted the way hockey is branded today.

I also found that I didn’t followed hockey in the way I wanted much because it was still somehow connected to my father.

So, I couldn’t bare these feelings anymore on my shoulders and that is why I felt a relief when I decided officially to quit writing about hockey and watching it as well.

Briefly, three months later after that decision, I watched the only game from the world championship in Minsk, the final game. As you know, Finland – The Lions – turned themselves on an Old Russian Kopek (the coin) from being forced to play relegation games, to running almost straight to the final against Russia.

It was the first time I watched the game with another mind-set and feelings than I had before, a totally new experience.

Of course I hoped that Finland would win the game and it looked pretty well after awhile. But I felt that it was no harm to lose a final game. I enjoyed watching the game despite the loss, despite that the referees “saw” suddenly plenty of Finnish penalties when it stood 2-1 to Finland and the Russian knees were shaking.  What else to believe when the game was played in Minsk?

Shortly said my friends: victories and glories from hockey games, is after all just for the day. There are things that are much more important.  And I could count a hundred things and beyond…but that’s a list for itself. I believe though that you understand what I mean.

If I will come back to watch the game more permanently and as writer?

It might sound like a cliché, but I don’t find any other answer at the moment than:

God knows…

/Arto, freelance



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