When the hockey playoffs are in full swing, and your team is busy improving their golf handicap, what are you supposed to do. You can enjoy the skill, athleticism, and tenacity that makes hockey a game without equal, but you have to watch some other person's favourite team. You can speculate who is going to win. You can even root against your team's arch rival. However, the best way to get into the playoffs is to join a hockey pool.
For the first time, I joined a charity pool with my co-workers and I must say I have been having a blast.
It started with an innocent idea and progressed to a trash talking bacchanalia. Just picking the teams required days of study and a ream of paper's worth of printouts. People who had only a minor interest in hockey became grade A statisticians. More importantly people learned how to pronounce the names of hockey players. (It's harder than you think) What did we ever do before we had the internet?
Every morning has started off with trash talking about the performance of the players the night before. I'd love to tell you it has all been high brow, high grade humour, but that wouldn't be true and you probably wouldn't believe me anyway. Before the end of work, which basically means as soon as the morning trash talking ended, the pre-game trash talking has begun. As people have risen and fallen in the standings their philosophies and strategies have changed. As they have tasted success they have boasted, and as they have tasted defeat they have developed various shrugs and wait and see poses.
Of course, much time was spent speculating what could have been. Players that no one suspected would even touch the puck have become heroes. Doubtless, many players are playing on injuries that would fell a lesser man, but their pool numbers have been less than predicted.
All in all, it has been fun. A lot of fun.
As I write this, the final round is beginning and I am looking forward to tomorrow's trash talking.